The green leaves and the expert: polysemy and truth-conditional variability

Lingua 157:54-65 (2015)
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Polysemy seems to be a relatively neglected phenomenon within philosophy of language as well as in many quarters in linguistic semantics. Not all variations in a word’s contribution to truth-conditional contents are to be thought as expressions of the phenomenon of polysemy, but it can be argued that many are. Polysemous terms are said to contribute senses or aspects to truth-conditional contents. In this paper, I will make use of the notion of aspect to argue that some apparently wild variations in an utterance’s truth conditions are instead quite systematic. In particular, I will focus on Travis’ much debated green leaves case and explain it in terms of the polysemy of the noun; and in particular, in terms of the as-it-is and the as-it-looks aspects associated with kind words
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