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Roles and Deontic Logic
By F. Cuppens
The objective of this paper is to propose a new semantics for a class of normative positions that applies deontic operators to descriptions of possible act-positions. This semantics is based on the concept of role which represents a behavior an agent is authorized to play. Within this new semantics, we investigate several deontic problems such as the treatment of Chisholm's Paradox, moral dilemmas and defeasible deontic reasoning.
Semantics of Complex Sentences in Japanese
By Hiroshi Nakagawa and Shin-ichiro Nishizawa
The important part of semantics of complex sentence is captured as relations among semantic roles in subordinate and main clause respectively. However if there can be relations between every pair of semantic roles, the amount of computation to identify the relations that hold in the given sentence is extremely large. In this paper, for semantics of Japanese complex sentence, we introduce new pragmatic roles called observer and motivated respectively to bridge semantic roles of subordinate and those of main clauses. By these new roles constraints on the relations among semantic/pragmatic roles are known to be almost local within subordinate or main clause. In other words, as for the semantics of the whole complex sentence, the only role we should deal with is a motivated.
The Quantificational/Referential Distinction and Negative Polarity
By Daniel Rothschild
There is an interesting class of expressions, including ever, any, and at all, called negative polarity items. They can only be used in certain linguistic contexts. We speak of such contexts as "licensing" the use of these terms. Some standard accounts of which contexts license negative polarity items (henceforth, NPIs) are inadequate. Here I will briefly discuss the problem with these accounts and propose new licensing conditions. Typically NPI's are thought to be licensed only in downward-entailing contexts (DE). I argue that they are rather only licensed in non-upwardentailing contexts. Then I give a semantic characterization of these contexts (non-UE contexts) in terms of domain-sensitivity. This proposal, I take to be roughly in line with some other proposals in the literature [Chierchia, forthcoming].
It turns out that the success of this account, or any account like it, requires examination of various questions about the semantics of noun-phrases. Definite descriptions, particularly, seem to provide a counterexample to my proposal for NPI-licensing. In order to handle this I examine a class of non-Russellian semantics for definite descriptions.
I then argue that NPI's indicate a fundamental semantic distinction between different forms of noun phrases. This distinction is meant to capture the intuitive distinction between quantificational and referential nounphrases. However, which noun phrases count as which is quite surprising.
Why Surprise-Predicates do not Embed Polar Interrogatives
By Klaus Abels
This paper is about the observation that certain predicates (like be surprised) do not embed polar interrogatives, i.e.*John is surprised whether Mary was a the party.Developing insights by Heim (1994) and d'Avis (2001, 2002), I claim that this observation follows from the independently motivated presuppositions of predicates like 'be surprised' and, crucially, the assumption that polar interrogatives denote singleton sets of propositions. Special clause type features as proposed for example in Grimshaw (1979) turn out not to be necessary.
Sententialism and Berkeley's Master Argument
By Zolt?n Gendler Szab?
Sententialism is the view that intensional positions in natural languages occur within clausal complements only. According to proponents of this view, intensional transitive verbs - such as `want', `seek', or `resemble' - are actually propositional attitude verbs in disguise. I argue that `conceive' (and a few other verbs) cannot fit this mold - conceiving-of is not reducible to conceiving-that. The path of the argument is somewhat unusual. I offer a new analysis of where Berkeley's Master Argument goes astray, analyzing what exactly is odd about saying that Hylas conceives a tree which in not conceived. It turns out that a sententialist semantics cannot adequately account for the source of absurdity in attitude ascriptions of this type; to do that, we need to acknowledge irreducibly non-propositional (but nonetheless de dicto) conceiving.
This paper is forthcoming in Philosophical Quarterly.
Contextual Variables as Pronouns
By Luisa Marti
In this paper I pursue the hypothesis that contextual variables of the kind associated with quantificational expressions like every, most or usually, abbreviated as C from now on, are covert pronominal items. An important advantage that this hypothesis offers is that, if true, then the grammatical tools needed to explain properties of pronouns can be used to explain properties of C, i.e., no new machinery needs to be introduced into the grammar to deal with C. If C is a pronoun, then we expect the behavior of C to be like the behavior of pronouns. What I do in this talk is show that the behavior of bound C is indeed like the behavior of bound pronouns. In particular, I show that C is subject to Weak Crossover (WCO).
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On Williamson's Arguments that Knowledge is a Mental State
By Adam Leite
Is knowledge a mental state? For philosophers working within the idealistic tradition, the answer is trivial: there is nothing else for knowledge to be. For most others, however, the claim has seemed prima facie implausible. Knowing that p requires or involves the fact that p, or p's truth, and that - with certain specifiable exceptions - is quite independent of my (or anyone's) mind; so while knowledge may require or involve certain mental states, it itself is not a state of mind.
More generally, it is very natural or intuitive to think in the following terms. On the one hand, there is the world apart from my mind. On the other hand, there is my mind. In many cases in which I have knowledge, I have it because of something about how the world is apart from my mind and because of something about me (my mind) which could be as it is even if the world were not that way. For instance, consider thewell-known example of Henry who is driving down the road and observes a barn in a field. In the ordinary case, he thereby comes to know that there is a barn in the field. But he does not come to know this in an unusual case in which, unbeknownst to him, there are barn facades in the vicinity which are not visually discriminable from real barns when viewed from the road.
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On the Complexity of Propositional Knowledge Base Revision, Updates, and Counterfactuals
By Thomas Eiter and Georg Gottlob
We study the complexity of several recently proposed methods for updating or revising propositional knowledge bases under the principle of minimal change. In particular, we derive complexity results for the following problem: given a knowledge base T, an update p, and a formula q, decide whether q is derivable from Tp, the updated (or revised) knowledge base. Note that this problem includes the evaluation of the counterfactual p > q over T, that is a conditional statement 'if p, then q' where p is known or expected to be false. We consider the general case where T is an arbitrary propositional formula (or theory) as well as restricted versions of this problem, in particular where T is a conjunction of Horn clauses, or where the size of the update p is bounded by a constant.
Deontics between Semantics and Ontology
By Carlos Alarcon Cabrera
The term Deontics, with its current meaning, constitutes a remarkable contribution to the Philosophy of Normative Language by Amedeo G. Conte. Going back to Aristotle, Conte defines Deontics as theory of 'Sollen' qua 'Sollen', as theory of 'ought' qua 'ought'. The same way Metaphysics, as theory of 'Sein' insofar as 'Sein' , studies Sein in its constitutive onticity, Deontics studies Sollen in its constitutive deonticity.
Unlike the term Deontics, the expression Deontic Logic was first used before, with its current meaning, by Georg H. von Wright (1951) when he mentioned the deontic modal concepts (what is obligatory, what is permitted, what is forbidden) together with the alethic modal concepts (necessity, possibility, contingency -- concepts which are studied in modal logic), the existential modal concepts (universality, existentiality, emptiness -- concepts which are studied in the theory of quantifiers) and the epistemic modal concepts (what is verified, what is undecided, what is falsified).
As an adjective, the term Deontic became more common in the philosophical lexicon. As Tecla Mazzarese points out, it was particularly used both in a pragmatic sense and a semantic sense: a) Pragmatically, as a synonym for directive, preceptive, prescriptive, normative, as opposed to descriptive, declarative, assertive; b) Semantically, in the sense of concerning ought, to designate what constitutes the scope of ought or what describes the scope of ought.
As a noun, Deontics concerns the formal systems of deontic calculus from the point of view of their theoretical-philosophical foundations, in virtue of which Deontic Logic analyzes technical problems peculiar to those calculi.
In this paper I will focus on five of Amedeo G. Conte's main contributions to the Philosophy of Normative Language:
In section 2, on the distinction between categorical constitutivity and hypothetical constitutivity.
In section 3, on the typology of the concept of validity.
In section 4, on the notion of pragmatic ambivalence of deontic utterances.
In section 5, on the conception of repeal as an act of rejection.
In section 6, on the reinterpretation of the Is-ought question.
First appeared in:
SORITES, Issue #05. May 1996. Pp. 18-34.
(Huitink, 2004) is the most recent attempt to solve the puzzle of anankastic conditionals. Huitink argues that if there are several non-conflicting goals at stake and several ways to achieve the goal in the antecedent, the anankastic reading cannot obtain. So anankastic sentences are false in such cases. However, they can be predicted true under the analysis in (Fintel and Iatridou, 2004). The scenario that should make the argument clear is the following:(16) a. To go to Harlem, you can take the A train or the B train.
b. You want to go to Harlem.
c. You want to kiss Ruud van Nistelrooy (Dutch soccer star).
d. Ruud van Nistelrooy is on the A train.
The designated goal analysis would predict that the Harlem sentence is true at least in its ought-version:(17) If you want to go to Harlem you ought to take the A train.
Proposition 1. x must take train A=O(A)
Proposition 2. x must take train B=O(B)
(DISJ) T(O(A) OR O(B))
a. T(O(A)), T(O(B));
b. T(O(A)), F(O(B));
c. F(O(A)), T(O(B)).
The first extensive discussion of the "anankastic conditionals" is due to (S?b?, 1986), who discovered that these conditionals are reluctant to a standard modal treatment. A number of recent papers on this topic refreshed linguistic interest in this phenomenon and motivated further research in the semantics of modality. To illustrate the problem, let us look at the sentences we will focus on:(1) a. You have to take the A train if you want to go to Harlem.
b. If you don't take the A train you can't go to Harlem.
c. To go to Harlem you have to take the A train.
This paradigm was brought into light by (S?b?, 1986), who followed (Bech, 1955/57) in assuming the equivalence of the conditional in (1a) and the infinitival construction in (1c). The conditionals in this list are called "anankastic", a term due to (Hare, 1971). They have the special property that the truth of the consequent is the only way that guarantees the truth of the antecedent. Or, the consequent is a necessary condition for the truth of the antecedent. While Hare had in mind constructions like (1a), a better construction to make the semantics clear is (1c) with the clause "you to go to Harlem" as antecedent A and the clause "you take the A train" as consequent C. The truth of C is the only way to entail the truth of A.
The if-clause, which contains "want", adds a further condition, which does not have much impact on the truth condition, if it has any impact at all.(..)
Note that this paraphrase ignores the contribution of "want"(...) In his lecture notes, von Stechow (cf. (Stechow, 2004)) proposes that the "want" in the antecedent is empty at the logical form. (...)
Want does not contribute to the meaning of the sentence.
The presence of want/be to in the antecedent is obligatory, but as S?b? (2001) accurately observes, the subject of want must corefer with the subject of the matrix clause for the anankastic reading to obtain (...). This requirement on coreference/disjoint reference suggests that want/be to, whatever their semantic contribution is, see to it that the necessary referential relations are established. So the presence of these modals is essential for the [anankastic] reading to be available.
(5a') i. If you want to have sugar in your soup, you should call the waiter.
ii. If you have sugar in your soup, you should call the waiter.
Conditionals of the form (1a) are called anankastic conditionals. This is a sort of conditionals with the consequent expressing necessary condition for achieving the goal or wish contained in the antecedent. Thus, the if-clause always has a bouletic/teleological modal expression and the matrix clause an explicit necessity operator. Here is an example from (Bech, 1955/57):(4) Wenn M?ller mit Schmidt verhandeln will/soll muss er nach Hamburg fahren.
`If M?ller wants/is to negotiate with Schmidt he must go to Hamburg'
Sentence (4) means that the only way for M?ller to negotiate with Schmidt is to meet him in Hamburg. Note that this paraphrase ignores the contribution of "want" to which we will return below.
(C1) The only way for M?ller to negotiate with Schmidt is to meet him in Hamburg (Germany).
(C2) The only way for M?ller to negotiate with Schmidt is to meet him in New Hamburg (Brazil).
(4)If M?ller does not want to negotiate with Schmidt, he must go to Hamburg.
If A is obligatory then A is the case
(R) (You must take the A train to go Harlem) --> (You take the A train to go to Harlem)
Indexicality and context-shift
Focus without variables: A multi-modal analysis
By Gerhard J?ger
Source: Semantics Archive
In this paper I will explore a certain phenomenon concerning the interaction between ellipsis and focus that has been used as an argument (by Kratzer (1991), see also Pulman (1997)) that both the use of variables and of an intermediate level of representation are indispensable. I will present a surface compositional and variable free analysis. The techniques used are not new (the most important sources are Krifka (1992) and Jacobson (1997)), but the paper aims to show that integrating these concepts into multi-modal categorial grammar (cf. Carpenter (1997), Moortgat (1997), Morrill (1994)) results in a system that is more than just the sum of its parts.
Section 2 discusses the problem to be explored and Kratzer's proposal for it's solution. In section 3 the basic concepts of multi-modal categorical grammar are introduced. Section 4 and 5 are concerned with the treatment of ellipsis and of focus in this approach to grammar. Section 6 explicates the interaction of these modules.
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THE SYNTAX AND PROSODY OF FOCUS IN SPANISH
By Laura Dominguez
This dissertation investigates the realization and interpretation of information structure in Spanish. Focused constituents may appear in the right-periphery, in the left-periphery or in situ in Spanish. Recent studies have addressed the relative weight of syntactic and phonological cues in the realization of information structure, but have not adequately accounted for these three types of focus. Syntax-based accounts, asserting that focused phrases move to the left-periphery to check features, fail to account for focus in the right-periphery. So-called prosody-based accounts, which in fact depend on the syntactic requirement that focus has to be aligned with nuclear stress, are unable to account for focus in a position other than final. Experimental data from a pilot study reported in this dissertation suggest that prominence in all three types of focus is determined by a prosodic structure without syntactic motivation.
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WHY SOME FOCI MUST ASSOCIATE
By Roger Schwarzschild
The association of only with focus is explained in terms of(a) a semantics for only which makes no mention of focus and
(b) discourse appropriateness conditions on the use of focus and principles of quantifier domain selection.
This account differs from previous ones in giving sufficient conditions for association with focus but without stipulating it in the meaning of lexical items. Detractors have contended that foci have different pragmatic import depending on whether or not they are associated with a higher operator. I give evidence against this claim. Others argue that there is no deterministic connection between intonational focus and association. One argument for this is the fact that association readings are possible even when nothing in the scope of the operator is focussed. The present account predicts the absence of intonational focus in these cases and explains how the readings come about. The wide variety of associating operators provide incentive for pursuing accounts like the present one based on independent principles of grammar.
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