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  1. Operator Arguments Revisited.Juhani Yli-Vakkuri, John Hawthorne & Peter Fritz - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (11):2933-2959.
    Certain passages in Kaplan’s ‘Demonstratives’ are often taken to show that non-vacuous sentential operators associated with a certain parameter of sentential truth require a corresponding relativism concerning assertoric contents: namely, their truth values also must vary with that parameter. Thus, for example, the non-vacuity of a temporal sentential operator ‘always’ would require some of its operands to have contents that have different truth values at different times. While making no claims about Kaplan’s intentions, we provide several reconstructions of how such (...)
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  • Semantics and Metasemantics in the Context of Generative Grammar.Seth Yalcin - 2014 - In Alexis Burgess & Brett Sherman (eds.), Metasemantics: New Essays on the Foundations of Meaning. Oxford University Press. pp. 17-54.
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  • Context-Free Semantics.Paolo Santorio - 2019 - In Ernie LePore & David Sosa (eds.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Language, Volume 1. Oxford University Press. pp. 208-239.
    On a traditional view, the semantics of natural language makes essential use of a context parameter, i.e. a set of coordinates that represents the situation of speech. In classical semantic frameworks, this parameter plays two key roles: first, context contributes to determining the content of utterance; second, it is crucial for defining logical consequence. I point out that recent empirical proposals about context shift in natural language (in particular, context-shifting semantics in the style of Anand and Nevins 2004) are incompatible (...)
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  • Propositional Anaphors.Peter van Elswyk - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (4):1055-1075.
    Propositions are posited to perform a variety of explanatory roles. One important role is being what is designated by a dedicated linguistic expression like a that-clause. In this paper, the case that propositions are needed for such a role is bolstered by defending that there are other expressions dedicated to designating propositions. In particular, it is shown that natural language has anaphors for propositions. Complement "so" and the response markers "yes" and "no" are argued to be such expressions.
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  • Content in a Dynamic Context.Una Stojnić - 2019 - Noûs 53 (2):394-432.
    The standing tradition in theorizing about meaning, since at least Frege, identifies meaning with propositions, which are, or determine, the truth-conditions of a sentence in a context. But a recent trend has advocated a departure from this tradition: in particular, it has been argued that modal claims do not express standard propositional contents. This non-propositionalism has received different implementations in expressivist semantics and certain kinds of dynamic semantics. They maintain that the key aspect of interpretation of modal claims is the (...)
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  • Monsters in Kaplan’s Logic of Demonstratives.Brian Rabern - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (2):393-404.
    Kaplan (1989a) insists that natural languages do not contain displacing devices that operate on character—such displacing devices are called monsters. This thesis has recently faced various empirical challenges (e.g., Schlenker 2003; Anand and Nevins 2004). In this note, the thesis is challenged on grounds of a more theoretical nature. It is argued that the standard compositional semantics of variable binding employs monstrous operations. As a dramatic first example, Kaplan’s formal language, the Logic of Demonstratives, is shown to contain monsters. For (...)
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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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  • What is Said?Anders J. Schoubye & Andreas Stokke - 2016 - Noûs 50 (4):759-793.
    It is sometimes argued that certain sentences of natural language fail to express truth conditional contents. Standard examples include e.g. Tipper is ready and Steel is strong enough. In this paper, we provide a novel analysis of truth conditional meaning using the notion of a question under discussion. This account explains why these types of sentences are not, in fact, semantically underdetermined, provides a principled analysis of the process by which natural language sentences can come to have enriched meanings in (...)
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  • A Bridge From Semantic Value to Content.Brian Rabern - 2017 - Philosophical Topics 45 (2):181-207.
    A common view relating compositional semantics and the objects of assertion holds the following: Sentences φ and ψ expresses the same proposition iff φ and ψ have the same modal profile. Following Dummett, Evans, and Lewis, Stanley argues that this view is fundamentally mistaken. According to Dummett, we must distinguish the semantic contribution a sentence makes to more complex expressions in which it occurs from its assertoric content. Stojnić insists that views which distinguish the roles of content and semantic value (...)
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  • Monsters and the Theoretical Role of Context.Brian Rabern & Derek Ball - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (2):392-416.
    Kaplan (1989) famously claimed that monsters--operators that shift the context--do not exist in English and "could not be added to it". Several recent theorists have pointed out a range of data that seem to refute Kaplan's claim, but others (most explicitly Stalnaker 2014) have offered a principled argument that monsters are impossible. This paper interprets and resolves the dispute. Contra appearances, this is no dry, technical matter: it cuts to the heart of a deep disagreement about the fundamental structure of (...)
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  • Coordinating Perspectives: De Se and Taste Attitudes in Communication.Dirk Kindermann - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (8):912-955.
    ABSTRACTThe received picture of linguistic communication understands communication as the transmission of information from speaker's head to hearer's head. This picture is in conflict with the attractive Lewisian view of belief as self-location, which is motivated by de se attitudes – first-personal attitudes about oneself – as well as attitudes about subjective matters such as personal taste. In this paper, I provide a solution to the conflict that reconciles these views. I argue for an account of mental attitudes and communication (...)
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  • Contexts and Constraints on Use.Geoff Georgi - forthcoming - Theoria.
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  • Discourse and Method.Ethan Nowak & Eliot Michaelson - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy:1-20.
    Stojnić et al. (2013, 2017) argue that the reference of demonstratives is fixed without any contribution from the extra-linguistic context. On their `prominence/coherence' theory, the reference of a demonstrative expression depends only on its context-independent linguistic meaning. Here, we argue that Stojnić et al.’s striking claims can be maintained in only the thinnest technical sense. Instead of eliminating appeals to the extra-linguistic context, we show how the prominence/coherence theory merely suppresses them. Then we ask why one might be tempted to (...)
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  • Context Dependence.Thomas Ede Zimmermann - 2012 - In C. Maienborn, K. von Heusinger & P. Portner (eds.), Handbook of Semantics. Volume 3. de Gruyter.
    Linguistic expressions frequently make reference to the situation in which they are uttered. In fact, there are expressions whose whole point of use is to relate to their context of utterance. It is such expressions that this article is primarily about. However, rather than presenting the richness of pertinent phenomena (cf. Anderson & Keenan 1985), it concentrates on the theoretical tools provided by the (standard) two-dimensional analysis of context dependence, essentially originating with Kaplan (1989)--with a little help from Stalnaker (1978) (...)
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  • Quasi Indexicals.Justin Khoo - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    I argue that not all context dependent expressions are alike. Pure (or ordinary) indexicals behave more or less as Kaplan thought. But quasi indexicals behave in some ways like indexicals and in other ways not like indexicals. A quasi indexical sentence φ allows for cases in which one party utters φ and the other its negation, and neither party’s claim has to be false. In this sense, quasi indexicals are like pure indexicals (think: “I am a doctor”/“I am not a (...)
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  • Modality and Expressibility.Matthew Mandelkern - forthcoming - Review of Symbolic Logic:1-39.
    When embedding data are used to argue against semantic theory A and in favor of semantic theory B, it is important to ask whether A could, after all, make sense of those data. It is possible to ask that question on a case-by-case basis. But suppose we could show that A can make sense of all the embedding data which B can possibly make sense of. This would, in one fell swoop, undermine all arguments in favor of B over A (...)
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  • Compositionality and the Prospect of a Pluralistic Semantic Theory.Adam C. Podlaskowski - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (2):325-339.
    A semantic theory is committed to semantic monism just in case every particular semantic property posited by the theory is a member of the same kind. The commitment to semantic monism appears to draw some support from the need to provide a compositional semantics, since taking a single kind of semantic property as key to a semantic theory affords a uniform pattern on the basis of which the meaning of any given sentence can be compositionally determined. This line of support (...)
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  • No Context, No Content, No Problem.Ethan Nowak - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    Recently, philosophers have offered compelling reasons to think that demonstratives are best represented as variables, sensitive not to the context of utterance, but to a variable assignment. Variablists typically explain familiar intuitions about demonstratives—intuitions that suggest that what is said by way of a demonstrative sentence varies systematically over contexts—by claiming that contexts initialize a particular assignment of values to variables. I argue that we do not need to link context and the assignment parameter in this way, and that we (...)
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  • A Theory of Propositions.Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2016 - Logic and Logical Philosophy 25 (1):83-125.
    In this paper I present a new theory of propositions, according to which propositions are abstract mathematical objects: well-formed formulas together with models. I distinguish the theory from a number of existing views and explain some of its advantages  chief amongst which are the following. On this view, propositions are unified and intrinsically truth-bearing. They are mind- and language-independent and they are governed by logic. The theory of propositions is ontologically innocent. It makes room for an appropriate interface with (...)
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  • Agreement and Communication.Max Kölbel - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S1):101-120.
    I distinguish two notions of agreement in belief: believing the same content versus having beliefs that necessarily coincide/diverge in normative status. The second notion of agreement,, is clearly significant for the communication of beliefs amongst thinkers. Thus there would seem to be some prima facie advantage to choosing the conception of content operative in in such a way that the normative status of beliefs supervenes on their content, and this seems to be the prevailing assumption of many semanticists. I shall (...)
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  • De Se Pragmatics.Andy Egan - forthcoming - Philosophical Perspectives.
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  • Sneaky Assertions.Manuel García‐Carpintero - forthcoming - Philosophical Perspectives.
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  • Looking Backwards in Type Logic.Jan Köpping & Thomas Ede Zimmermann - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-27.
    ABSTRACTBackwards-looking operators Saarinen, E. [1979. “Backwards-Looking Operators in Tense Logic and in Natural Language.” In Essays on Mathematical and Philosophical Logic, edited by J. Hintikka, I. Niiniluoto, and E. Saarinen, 341–367. Dordrecht: Reidel] that have the material in their scope depend on higher intensional operators, are known to increase the expressivity of some intensional languages and have thus played a central role in debates about approaches to intensionality in terms of implicit parameters vs. variables explicitly quantifying over them. The current (...)
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  • Relativism and the Expressivist Bifurcation.Javier González de Prado Salas - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3-4):357-378.
    Traditional expressivists want to preserve a contrast between the representational use of declarative sentences in descriptive domains and the non-representational use of declarative sentences in other areas of discourse. However, expressivists have good reasons to endorse minimalism about representational notions, and minimalism seems to threaten the existence of such a bifurcation. Thus, there are pressures for expressivists to become global anti-representationalists. In this paper I discuss how to reconstruct in non-representationalist terms the sort of bifurcation traditional expressivists were after. My (...)
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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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  • From Meaning to Content.Francois Recanati - 2018 - In Derek Ball & Brian Rabern (eds.), The Science of Meaning: Essays on the Metatheory of Natural Language Semantics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    According to a widespread picture due to Kaplan, there are two levels of semantic value: character and content. Character is determined by the grammar, and it determines content with respect to context. In this chapter Recanati criticizes that picture on several grounds. He shows that we need more than two levels, and rejects the determination thesis: that linguistic meaning as determined by grammar determines content. Grammatical meaning does not determine assertoric content, he argues, but merely constrains it — speaker’s meaning (...)
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  • The Conversational Role of Centered Contents.Max Kölbel - 2013 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (2-3):97-121.
    Some philosophers, for example David Lewis, have argued for the need to introduce de se contents or centered contents, i.e. contents of thought and speech the correctness of believing which depends not only on the possible world one inhabits, but also on the location one occupies. Independently, philosophers like Robert Stalnaker (and also David Lewis) have developed the conversational score model of linguistic communication. This conversational model usually relies on a more standard conception of content according to which the correctness (...)
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  • Explaining the Actuality Operator Away.John Mackay - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (269):709-21.
    I argue that ‘actually’ does not have a reading according to which it is synonymous with the actuality operator of modal logic, and propose an alternative account of ‘actually’. The cases that have been thought to show that ‘actually’ is synonymous with the actuality operator are modal and counterfactual sentences in which an embedded clause's evaluation is held fixed at the world of the context. In these cases, though, this embedded clause's evaluation is not due to the presence of ‘actually’. (...)
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  • Self-Ascription and the De Se.James Openshaw - forthcoming - Synthese.
    This paper defends Lewis’ (1979a) influential treatment of de se attitudes from recent criticism (Cappelen and Dever, 2013; Holton, 2015) to the effect that a key explanatory notion—self-ascription—goes unexplained. It is shown that Lewis’ treatment can be reconstructed in a way which provides clear responses. This sheds light on the explanatory ambitions of those engaged in Lewis’ project.
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  • Semantic Possibility.Wolfgang Schwarz - 2018 - In Derek Ball & Brian Rabern (eds.), The Science of Meaning. Oxford University Press. pp. 361-380.
    This paper starts out from the idea that semantics is a “special science” whose aim, like that of chemistry or ecology, is to identify systematic, high-level patterns in a fundamentally physical world. I defend an approach to this task on which sentences are associated with with sets of possible worlds (of some kind). These sets of worlds, however, are not postulated for the compositional treatment of intensional contexts; they are not meant to capture what is intuitively asserted or communicated by (...)
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  • A Note on Conditionals and Restrictors.Daniel Rothschild - manuscript
    This note relates the Lewis/Kratzer view of conditionals as restrictors to the philosophical debate over the meaning of conditionals.
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  • Nonfactual Know-How and the Boundaries of Semantics.Paolo Santorio - 2016 - Philosophical Review 125 (1):35-82.
    Know-how and expressivism are usually regarded as disjoint topics, belonging to distant areas of philosophy. This paper argues that, despite obvious differences, the two debates have important similarities. In particular, semantic and conceptual tools developed by expressivists can be exported to the know-how debate. On the one hand, some of the expressivists' semantic resources can be used to deflect Stanley and Williamson's influential argument for factualism about know-how: the claim that knowing how to do something consists in knowing a fact. (...)
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  • On a Distinction of Two Facets of Meaning and its Role in Proof-Theoretic Semantics.Nissim Francez - 2015 - Logica Universalis 9 (1):121-127.
    I show that in the context of proof-theoretic semantics, Dummett’s distinction between the assertoric meaning of a sentence and its ingredient sense can be seen as a distinction between two proof-theoretic meanings of a sentence: 1.Meaning as a conclusion of an introduction rule in a meaning-conferring natural-deduction proof system. 2.Meaning as a premise of an introduction rule in a meaning-conferring natural-deduction proof system. The effect of this distinction on compositionality of proof-theoretic meaning is discussed.
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  • Simple Contextualism About Epistemic Modals Is Incorrect.Benjamin Lennertz - 2014 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (4):252-262.
    I argue against a simple contextualist account of epistemic modals. My argument, like the argument on which it is based , charges that simple contextualism cannot explain all of the conversational data about uses of epistemic modals. My argument improves on its predecessor by insulating itself from recent contextualist attempts by Janice Dowell and Igor Yanovich to get around that argument. In particular, I use linguistic data to show that an utterance of an epistemic modal sentence can be warranted, while (...)
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  • On the Dynamics of Conversation.Daniel Rothschild & Seth Yalcin - 2017 - Noûs 51 (2):24-48.
    There is a longstanding debate in the literature about static versus dynamic approaches to meaning and conversation. A formal result due to van Benthem is often thought to be important for understanding what, conceptually speaking, is at issue in the debate. We introduce the concept of a conversation system, and we use it to clarify the import of van Benthem's result. We then distinguish two classes of conversation systems, corresponding to two concepts of staticness. The first class corresponds to a (...)
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  • What is a Truth-Value Gap?James R. Shaw - 2014 - Linguistics and Philosophy 37 (6):503-534.
    Truth-value gaps have received little attention from a foundational perspective, a fact which has rightfully opened up gap theories to charges of vacuousness. This paper develops an account of the foundations of gap-like behavior which has some hope of avoiding such charges. I begin by reviewing and sharpening a powerful argument of Dummett’s to constrain the options that gap theorists have to make sense of their views. I then show that within these strictures, we can give an account of gaps (...)
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  • Might-Beliefs and Asymmetric Disagreement.Benjamin Lennertz - forthcoming - Synthese.
    What we can call asymmetric disagreement occurs when one agent is in disagreement with another, but not vice-versa. In this paper, I give an example of and develop a framework for understanding this phenomenon. One pivotal feature of my example is that one of the agents in the scenario has a belief about what might be the case—a might-belief. I show that a traditional account of might-beliefs and disagreement cannot explain the initially surprising phenomenon of asymmetric disagreement. In order to (...)
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  • Obligation and Aspect.Benj Hellie - 2016 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (4):398-449.
    ‘Fred must open the door’ concerns Fred’s obligations. This obligative meaning is turned off by adding aspect: ‘Fred must have opened/be opening/have been opening the door’ are one and all epistemic. Why? In a nutshell: obligative ’must’ operates on procedural contents of imperative sentences, epistemic ‘must’ on propositional contents of declarative sentences; and adding aspect converts procedural into propositional content.
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