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  1. How to Misspell 'Paris'.James Miller - forthcoming - Philosophy.
    One feature of language is that we are able to make mistakes in our use of language. Amongst other sorts of mistakes, we can misspeak, misspell, missign, or misunderstand. Given this, it seems that our metaphysics of words should be flexible enough to accommodate such mistakes. It has been argued that a nominalist account of words cannot accommodate the phenomenon of misspelling. I sketch a nominalist trope-bundle view of words that can.
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  • Unspeakable names.Eliot Michaelson - 2023 - Synthese 201 (2):1-19.
    There are some names which cannot be spoken and others which cannot be written, at least on certain very natural ways of conceiving of them. Interestingly, this observation proves to be in tension with a wide range of views about what names are. Prima facie, this looks like a problem for predicativists. Ultima facie, it turns out to be equally problematic for Millians. For either sort of theorist, resolving this tension requires embracing a revisionary account of the metaphysics of names. (...)
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  • Istovjetnost riječi.J. T. M. Miller - 2022 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 18 (2):2-26.
    Although the metaphysics of words remains a relatively understudied domain, one of the more discussed topics has been the question of how to account for the apparent sameness of words. Put one way, the question concerns what it is that makes two word- instances (or tokens) instances of the same word. In this paper, I argue that the existing solutions to the problems all fail as they take the problem of sameness of word to be a problem about how one (...)
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  • Sameness of Word.James Miller - 2022 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 18 (2):2-26.
    Although the metaphysics of words remains a relatively understudied domain, one of the more discussed topics has been the question of how to account for the apparent sameness of words. Put one way, the question concerns what it is that makes two word- instances (or tokens) instances of the same word. In this paper, I argue that the existing solutions to the problems all fail as they take the problem of sameness of word to be a problem about how one (...)
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  • Syntactic structures and pragmatic meanings.Robyn Carston - 2022 - Synthese 200 (6):1-28.
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  • Languages and language use.Jessica Keiser - 2023 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 107 (2):357-376.
    Numerous difficulties arising in connection with developing an ontology for linguistic entities can be thought of as manifestations of a more general problem, aptly characterized by David Lewis (1975) as a tension between two conflicting conceptions of language. On the one hand, our best theories model languages as abstract semantic systems—roughly, functions assigning meanings to expressions. On the other hand, we think of languages as contingent and changing social constructs—both grounded in, and grounding, various social relations and institutions of human (...)
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  • Words on Kripke’s Puzzle.Maciej Tarnowski & Maciej Głowacki - 2022 - Synthese 200 (4):1-21.
    In this paper we present a solution to Saul Kripke’s Puzzle About Belief Meaning and use, Dordrecht, 1979) based on Kaplan’s metaphysical picture of words. Although it is widely accepted that providing such a solution was one of the main incentives for the development of Kaplan’s theory, it was never presented by Kaplan in a systematic manner and was regarded by many as unsatisfactory. We agree with these critiques, and develop an extension of Kaplan’s theory by introducing the notion of (...)
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  • Words, Species, and Kinds.J. T. M. Miller - 2021 - Metaphysics 4 (1):18–31.
    It has been widely argued that words are analogous to species such that words, like species, are natural kinds. In this paper, I consider the metaphysics of word-kinds. After arguing against an essentialist approach, I argue that word-kinds are homeostatic property clusters, in line with the dominant approach to other biological and psychological kinds.
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  • The ontology of words: Realism, nominalism, and eliminativism.J. T. M. Miller - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (7):e12691.
    What are words? What makes two token words tokens of the same word-type? Are words abstract entities, or are they (merely) collections of tokens? The ontology of words tries to provide answers to these, and related questions. This article provides an overview of some of the most prominent views proposed in the literature, with a particular focus on the debate between type-realist, nominalist, and eliminativist ontologies of words.
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  • A Bundle Theory of Words.J. T. M. Miller - 2021 - Synthese 198 (6):5731–5748.
    It has been a common assumption that words are substances that instantiate or have properties. In this paper, I question the assumption that our ontology of words requires posting substances by outlining a bundle theory of words, wherein words are bundles of various sorts of properties (such as semantic, phonetic, orthographic, and grammatical properties). I argue that this view can better account for certain phenomena than substance theories, is ontologically more parsimonious, and coheres with claims in linguistics.
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