Download e-book for iPad: Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language by Friederike Moltmann

By Friederike Moltmann

ISBN-10: 0199608741

ISBN-13: 9780199608744

Summary items were a principal subject in philosophy considering that antiquity. Philosophers have defended a number of perspectives approximately summary gadgets by way of beautiful to metaphysical concerns, issues relating to arithmetic or technology, and, no longer on occasion, intuitions approximately traditional language. This booklet pursues the query of ways and no matter if average language enables connection with summary items in an absolutely systematic manner. by means of making complete use of up to date linguistic semantics, it offers a far larger variety of linguistic generalizations than has formerly been considered in philosophical discussions, and it argues for an ontological photo is especially varied from that regularly taken without any consideration through philosophers and semanticists alike. connection with summary items reminiscent of homes, numbers, propositions, and levels is significantly extra marginal than mostly held. as a substitute, typical language is quite beneficiant in permitting connection with particularized houses (tropes), using nonreferential expressions in obvious referential place, and using "nominalizing expressions," akin to quantifiers like "something." connection with summary gadgets is completed regularly in basic terms via 'reifying terms', akin to "the quantity eight."

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John is looking for pink diamonds. ) (53a) could not possibly mean that John (being slightly deluded) wants to buy the kind; (53b) cannot mean that John counted “one,” by counting just the kind; and (53c) cannot mean that John is looking for one thing, namely the kind. It is impossible to read (53a, b, c) in such a way that the predicates would apply to a single object that is a kind. Rather, with kind terms, predicates must have instance-related readings. The view of kinds as entities resisting (non-derivative) properties is problematic also in view of the very general fact that any entity must be able to bear at least “formal REFERENCE TO UNIVERSALS AND PLURAL REFERENCE TO PARTICULARS 25 properties” such as being a kind, being an entity, or being unable to bear properties expressed by natural language predicates.

Let me first discuss the two approaches to plurals before turning to the modalized plural-reference account of kind terms. 1. The semantics of definite plurals: reference to a plurality or plural reference? The reference-to-a-plurality approach is the most common way in linguistic semantics of analyzing definite plurals (Link 1984, Schwarzschild 1996, Moltmann 1997a). On that approach, definite and conjunctive plural NPs are taken to refer to single entities that are “pluralities” of some sort, that is, collective entities conceived of as sums, sets, 28 A B S T R A C T O B J E C T S A N D T H E S E M A N T I C S O F N AT U R A L L A N G UA G E or collections in some other sense.

63) a. The students like each other. b. The class likes each other. (64) a. John cannot distinguish the students. b. John cannot distinguish the class. (65) a. The students are similar. b. The class is similar. (66) a. John counted the students. b. John counted the group of students (except if it means that John counted “one”). (67) a. The students are numerous. b. The class is numerous. [3] Predicates of existence With definite plurals, the verb exist can claim only the existence of members of the plurality, not the existence of the plurality as an entity “beyond” its members.

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Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language by Friederike Moltmann


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