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  1. You Hoboken! Semantics of an expressive label maker.Kate Hazel Jain - 2022 - Linguistics and Philosophy 45 (2):365-391.
    ‘You bastard’ is insulting because ‘bastard’ is an expletive, but what’s wrong with ‘You Hoboken’ or ‘You big wet noodle’? This paper explores the semantics of a vocative construction that is particularly efficient at coining what I call ‘expressive labels’; these are affect-transmitting expressions that present themselves as apt for identifying their discourse target via speaker affect. Building on work by Portner On information structure, meaning and form. Benjamins, Amsterdam, 2007) and Gutzmann, I show how discourse properties direct and constrain (...)
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  • Speaker’s Intentions, Ambiguous Demonstrations, and Relativist Semantics for Demonstratives.Jakub Rudnicki - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-27.
    In this paper, I do four things. First, I argue that Recanati’s recent argument for intentionalist semantics for demonstratives is erroneous. I do this partly by suggesting that demonstrations should be treated as features of Kaplanian context. Second, I explain why the classic ambiguity objection against conventionalist positions regarding demonstratives is not in any way less problematic for intentionalism. Third, I propose a novel semantic framework for demonstratives that is able to simultaneously explain the appeal of some prominent conventionalist and (...)
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  • No Context, No Content, No Problem.Ethan Nowak - 2021 - Mind and Language 36 (2):189-220.
    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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  • One's Modus Ponens: Modality, Coherence and Logic.Una Stojnić - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (1):167-214.
    Recently, there has been a shift away from traditional truth-conditional accounts of meaning towards non-truth-conditional ones, e.g., expressivism, relativism and certain forms of dynamic semantics. Fueling this trend is some puzzling behavior of modal discourse. One particularly surprising manifestation of such behavior is the alleged failure of some of the most entrenched classical rules of inference; viz., modus ponens and modus tollens. These revisionary, non-truth-conditional accounts tout these failures, and the alleged tension between the behavior of modal vocabulary and classical (...)
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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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  • Ways of Using Words: On Semantic Intentions.Emanuel Viebahn - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (1):93-117.
    Intentionalism is the view that demonstratives, gradable adjectives, quantifiers, modals and other context‐sensitive expressions are intention‐sensitive: their semantic value on a given use is fixed by speaker intentions. The first aim of this paper is to defend Intentionalism against three recent objections, according to which speakers at least sometimes do not have suitable intentions when using supposedly intention‐sensitive expressions. Its second aim is to thereby shed light on the so far little‐explored question of which kinds of intentions can be semantically (...)
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  • Pointing things out: in defense of attention and coherence.Una Stojnić, Matthew Stone & Ernie Lepore - 2020 - Linguistics and Philosophy 43 (2):139-148.
    Nowak and Michaelson have done us the service of presenting direct and clear worries about our account of demonstratives. In response, we use the opportunity to engage briefly with their remarks as a useful way to clarify our view.
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  • Meaning and Demonstration.Matthew Stone & Una Stojnic - 2015 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (1):69-97.
    In demonstration, speakers use real-world activity both for its practical effects and to help make their points. The demonstrations of origami mathematics, for example, reconfigure pieces of paper by folding, while simultaneously allowing their author to signal geometric inferences. Demonstration challenges us to explain how practical actions can get such precise significance and how this meaning compares with that of other representations. In this paper, we propose an explanation inspired by David Lewis’s characterizations of coordination and scorekeeping in conversation. In (...)
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  • Discourse and Method.Ethan Nowak & Eliot Michaelson - 2020 - Linguistics and Philosophy 43 (2):119-138.
    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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  • A Defence of Intentionalism About Demonstratives.Alex Radulescu - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (4): 775-791.
    Intentionalism about demonstratives is the view that the referent of a demonstrative is determined solely by the speaker's intentions. Intentionalists can disagree about the nature of these intentions, but are united in rejecting the relevance of other factors, such as the speaker's gestures, her gaze, and any facts about the addressee or the audience. In this paper, I formulate a particular version of this view, and I defend it against six objections, old and new.
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  • Situations in Natural Language Semantics.Angelika Kratzer - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Situation semantics was developed as an alternative to possible worlds semantics. In situation semantics, linguistic expressions are evaluated with respect to partial, rather than complete, worlds. There is no consensus about what situations are, just as there is no consensus about what possible worlds or events are. According to some, situations are structured entities consisting of relations and individuals standing in those relations. According to others, situations are particulars. In spite of unresolved foundational issues, the partiality provided by situation semantics (...)
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  • Reviving the Parameter Revolution in Semantics.Bryan Pickel, Brian Rabern & Josh Dever - 2018 - In Derek Ball & Brian Rabern (eds.), The Science of Meaning. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 138-171.
    Montague and Kaplan began a revolution in semantics, which promised to explain how a univocal expression could make distinct truth-conditional contributions in its various occurrences. The idea was to treat context as a parameter at which a sentence is semantically evaluated. But the revolution has stalled. One salient problem comes from recurring demonstratives: "He is tall and he is not tall". For the sentence to be true at a context, each occurrence of the demonstrative must make a different truth-conditional contribution. (...)
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  • Discourse and Logical Form: Pronouns, Attention and Coherence.Una Stojnić, Matthew Stone & Ernie Lepore - 2017 - Linguistics and Philosophy 40 (5):519-547.
    Traditionally, pronouns are treated as ambiguous between bound and demonstrative uses. Bound uses are non-referential and function as bound variables, and demonstrative uses are referential and take as a semantic value their referent, an object picked out jointly by linguistic meaning and a further cue—an accompanying demonstration, an appropriate and adequately transparent speaker’s intention, or both. In this paper, we challenge tradition and argue that both demonstrative and bound pronouns are dependent on, and co-vary with, antecedent expressions. Moreover, the semantic (...)
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  • A Bump in the Road.Ricardo Mena - 2020 - Manuscrito 43 (4):177-188.
    Roads to Reference offers a highly valuable contribution to the theory of reference. The arguments in this book are quite convincing and the overall picture presented in it is quite attractive. In what follows I would like to present some critical comments regarding the first chapter of the book, Demonstratives and Conflicting Intentions.
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