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  1. Smell’s Puzzling Discrepancy: Gifted Discrimination, yet Pitiful Identification.Benjamin D. Young - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    Humans are gifted at detecting and discriminating odors, yet we have difficulty identifying even the most prevalent everyday odors by name. This paper offers a new explanation for the puzzling discrepancy between our olfactory capacities for discrimination and identification by weaving together recent neuroscientific findings regarding the cortical connectivity of the olfactory system, the olfactory system’s proprietary semantic integration center, and recent philosophical research on the olfactory system’s compositional format of representation. The paper combines these areas of research to develop (...)
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  • Binding, Compositionality, and Semantic Values.Michael Glanzberg & Jeffrey C. King - forthcoming - Philosophers' Imprint.
    In this paper, we defend a traditional approach to semantics, that holds that the outputs of compositional semantics are propositional, i.e. truth conditions (or anything else appropriate to be the objects of assertions or the contents of attitudes). Though traditional, this view has been challenged on a number of fronts over the years. Since classic work of Lewis, arguments have been offered which purport to show that semantic composition requires values that are relativized, e.g. to times, or other parameters that (...)
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  • Eternalism and Propositional Multitasking: In Defence of the Operator Argument.Clas Weber - 2012 - Synthese 189 (1):199-219.
    It is a widely held view in philosophy that propositions perform a plethora of different theoretical roles. Amongst other things, they are believed to be the semantic values of sentences in contexts, the objects of attitudes, the contents of illocutionary acts, and the referents of that-clauses. This assumption is often combined with the claim that propositions have their truth-values eternally. In this paper I aim to show that these two assumptions are incompatible: propositions cannot both fulfill the mentioned roles and (...)
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  • Structured Propositions in a Generative Grammar.Bryan Pickel - 2019 - Mind (510):329-366.
    Semantics in the Montagovian tradition combines two basic tenets. One tenet is that the semantic value of a sentence is an intension, a function from points of evaluations into truth-values. The other tenet is that the semantic value of a composite expression is the result of applying the function denoted by one component to arguments denoted by the other components. Many philosophers object to intensional semantics on the grounds that intensionally equivalent sentences do not substitute salva veritate into attitude ascriptions. (...)
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  • Meta-Externalism Vs Meta-Internalism in the Study of Reference.Daniel Cohnitz & Jussi Haukioja - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (3):475-500.
    We distinguish and discuss two different accounts of the subject matter of theories of reference, meta-externalism and meta-internalism. We argue that a form of the meta- internalist view, “moderate meta-internalism”, is the most plausible account of the subject matter of theories of reference. In the second part of the paper we explain how this account also helps to answer the questions of what kind of concept reference is, and what role intuitions have in the study of the reference relation.
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  • Pure Quotation and General Compositionality.Peter Pagin & Dag Westerståhl - 2010 - Linguistics and Philosophy 33 (5):381-415.
    Starting from the familiar observation that no straightforward treatment of pure quotation can be compositional in the standard (homomorphism) sense, we introduce general compositionality, which can be described as compositionality that takes linguistic context into account. A formal notion of linguistic context type is developed, allowing the context type of a complex expression to be distinct from those of its constituents. We formulate natural conditions under which an ordinary meaning assignment can be non-trivially extended to one that is sensitive to (...)
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  • Talking About Looks.Kathrin Glüer - 2017 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8 (4):781-807.
    In natural language, looks-talk is used in a variety of ways. I investigate three uses of ‘looks’ that have traditionally been distinguished – epistemic, comparative, and phenomenal ‘looks’ – and endorse and develop considerations in support of the view that these amount to polysemy. Focusing on the phenomenal use of ‘looks’, I then investigate connections between its semantics, the content of visual experience, and the metaphysics of looks. I argue that phenomenal ‘looks’ is not a propositional attitude operator: We do (...)
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  • Content and Composition. An Essay on Tense, Content and Semantic Value.Sara Packalén - 2016 - Dissertation, Stockholm University
    A remarkable thing about natural language is that we can use it to share our beliefs and thoughts about the world with other speakers of our language. In cases of successful communication, beliefs seem to be transferred from speakers to hearers by means of the hearer recovering the contents of the speaker’s utterances. This is so natural to us that we take it for granted in our everyday life, and rarely stop to think about how it's is possible. Nevertheless, it's (...)
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  • Grammar, Ontology, and the Unity of Meaning.Ulrich Reichard - 2013 - Dissertation, University of Durham
    Words have meaning. Sentences also have meaning, but their meaning is different in kind from any collection of the meanings of the words they contain. I discuss two puzzles related to this difference. The first is how the meanings of the parts of a sentence combine to give rise to a unified sentential meaning, as opposed to a mere collection of disparate meanings (UP1). The second is why the formal ontology of linguistic meaning changes when grammatical structure is built up (...)
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  • Digital Images: Content and Compositionality.Alistair M. C. Isaac - 2017 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 3 (1):106-126.
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  • Neoclassical Concepts.Derek Leben - 2015 - Mind and Language 30 (1):44-69.
    Linguistic theories of lexical semantics support a Neoclassical Theory of concepts, where entities like CAUSE, STATE, and MANNER serve as necessary conditions for the possession of individual event concepts. Not all concepts have a neoclassical structure, and whether or not words participate in regular linguistic patterns such as verbal alternations will be proposed as a probe for identifying whether their corresponding concepts do indeed have such structure. I show how the Neoclassical Theory supplements existing theories of concepts and supports a (...)
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  • Meaning, Modulation, and Context: A Multidimensional Semantics for Truth-Conditional Pragmatics.Guillermo Del Pinal - 2018 - Linguistics and Philosophy 41 (2):165-207.
    The meaning that expressions take on particular occasions often depends on the context in ways which seem to transcend its direct effect on context-sensitive parameters. ‘Truth-conditional pragmatics’ is the project of trying to model such semantic flexibility within a compositional truth-conditional framework. Most proposals proceed by radically ‘freeing up’ the compositional operations of language. I argue, however, that the resulting theories are too unconstrained, and predict flexibility in cases where it is not observed. These accounts fall into this position because (...)
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  • The Evolution of Compositionality in Signaling Games.Michael Franke - 2016 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 25 (3-4):355-377.
    Compositionality is a key design feature of human language: the meaning of complex expressions is, for the most part, systematically constructed from the meanings of its parts and their manner of composition. This paper demonstrates that rudimentary forms of compositional communicative behavior can emerge from a variant of reinforcement learning applied to signaling games. This helps explain how compositionality could have emerged gradually: if unsophisticated agents can evolve prevalent dispositions to communicate compositional-like, there is a direct evolutionary benefit for adaptations (...)
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  • Compositional Signaling in a Complex World.Shane Steinert-Threlkeld - 2016 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 25 (3-4):379-397.
    Natural languages are compositional in that the meaning of complex expressions depends on those of the parts and how they are put together. Here, I ask the following question: why are languages compositional? I answer this question by extending Lewis–Skyrms signaling games with a rudimentary form of compositional signaling and exploring simple reinforcement learning therein. As it turns out: in complex worlds, having compositional signaling helps simple agents learn to communicate. I am also able to show that learning the meaning (...)
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  • Compositionality as Weak Supervenience.Toby Napoletano - 2015 - Synthese 192 (1):201-220.
    This paper argues against Zoltán Szabó’s claim in “Compositionality as Supervenience” that we ought to understand the principle of compositionality as the idea that in natural language, the meanings of complex expressions strongly supervene on the meanings of their constituents and how the constituents are combined. The argument is that if we understand compositionality Szabó’s way, then compositionality can play no role in explanations of the acquirability of natural languages, because it makes these explanations circular. This, in turn, would undermine (...)
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  • Pure Quotation.Emar Maier - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (9):615-630.
    Pure quotation, as in ‘cat’ has three letters, is a linguistic device designed for referring to linguistic expressions. I present a uniform recon struction of the four classic philosophical accounts of the phenomenon: the proper name theory, the description theory, the demonstrative theory, and the disquotational theory. I evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each proposal with respect to fundamental semantic properties like compositionality, productivity, and recursivity.
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