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LINGUISTIX&LOGIK, Tony Marmo's blog
Saturday, 19 February 2005

Topic: Cognition & Epistemology

Indexicality and A Prioricity

By James Pryor

I consider beliefs that are claimed to be a priori in virtue of (i) their indexical character--beliefs like "I am here now", or in virtue of (ii) their self-verifying character--beliefs like "I exist" and "I am now thinking about myself." I argue that none of these beliefs really are a priori.

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Saturday, 19 February 2005 06:48 GMT
Friday, 18 February 2005



By James Higginbotham

This article is a synopsis or digest of my thoughts over a number of years, which for whatever reason took some time to reach even the shape that they are in now. I repeat some arguments, going back to class presentations at MIT in 1990, that accomplishments are syntactically represented by ordered pairs of positions for event, and that the "accomplishment" interpretation of a predicate may stem from the complex thematic structure <E,E'> of a Preposition, a syntactic adjunct, rather than from the head. The structures <E,E'> are telic pairs; and I hold that the formation of telic pairs is a compositional, rather than a lexical, process. This thesis is applied to a number of constructions, yielding, if I am right, the basis for family of distinctions between English- (or Chinese-) type languages, on the one hand, and Romance (or Korean or Japanese) on the other. The conceptions in this first part of what follows are then applied to the location and locatum V of Ken Hale and Jay Keyser. I suggest an alternative derivation of these V, at least in English, and while acknowledging the cogency of the comments of Paul Kiparsky I defend a version of their syntactic theory against his objections. In particular, I argue that certain semantic properties of the location and locatum V are not a matter of primitive stipulation, in the lexicon or elsewhere, but rather follow from the nature of the construction, together with a certain notion of normativity, explained below. The chief novelty, however, in what follows is a systematic response to standard arguments against lexical decomposition, arguments that must be answered if contemporary morphosyntax corresponds in any but an impressionistic way to what might be called morphosemantics. My defense turns upon demoting the notion of causation; that is, upon seeing it as a consequence, rather than the driving force, behind accomplishment predicates.

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Friday, 18 February 2005 05:52 GMT
Monday, 14 February 2005


A Formal Treatment of the Pragmatics of Questions and Attitudes

By Maria Aloni

This article discusses pragmatic aspects of our interpretation of intensional constructions like questions and propositional attitude reports. In the first part, it argues that our evaluation of these constructions may vary relative to the identification methods operative in the context of use. This insight is then given a precise formalization in a possible world semantics. In the second part, an account of actual evaluations of questions and attitudes is proposed in the framework of bi-directional optimality theory. Pragmatic meaning selections are explained as the result of specific rankings of potentially conflicting generation and interpretation constraints.

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 02:25 GMT



By Ora Matushansky & Benjamin Spector

We examine the distribution and interpretation of post-copular noun phrases in French when they appear with and without an indefinite article (Marie est (une) physicienne). We propose that the alternation is due to the fact that the indefinite article marks saturation of an NP-internal argument slot, and show that because of this, post-copular indefinite NPs are usually but not always existentially quantified, while bare NPs are predicative. This theory leads to new perspectives both on cross-linguistic marking of post-copular NPs and on the treatment of the indefinite article.

Source: Semantics Archive

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 8 February 2005 23:18 GMT
Monday, 7 February 2005


Attitude Reports, Events, and Partial Models

By Friederike Moltmann

Clausal complements of different kinds of attitude verbs such as believe, doubt, be surprised, wonder, say, and whisper behave differently semantically in a number of respects. For example, they differ in the inference patterns they display. This paper develops a semantic account of clausal complements using partial logic, which accounts for such semantic differences on the basis of a uniform meaning of clauses. It focuses on explaining the heterogeneous inference patterns associated with different kinds of attitude verbs, but it contributes also to explaining differences among clausal complements of attitude verbs regarding the possibility of de re reference, anaphora support, presupposition satisfaction, and the distribution of subjunctive in certain languages. Moreover, it gives a new account of factivity.

The point of departure of this paper is the general observation that the failure of inferences from attitude reports is relative in that it depends both on the general type of attitude and on the particular instance of the attitude described. Thus, from John is surprised that P and Q one cannot infer John is surprised that P and John is surprised that Q, though this is possible with believe. Conversely, one can infer from John believes that P and John believes that Q, to John believes that P and Q, but only as long as the same belief state of John is involved.

In order to capture this dependency of inferences from attitude reports on a particular mental state or act, I propose an account on which clausal complements of attitude verbs (as well as independent sentences) characterize the intentional state or act described by the attitude verb in question, rather than referring to independent propositions. The semantic account of attitude reports of this paper can hence be called an 'event-based account' of clauses.

Source: Semantics Archive

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Monday, 7 February 2005 00:46 GMT
Thursday, 3 February 2005

Now Playing: UPDATED

Meaning as an Inferential Role

By Jaroslav Peregrin

Contemporary theories of meaning can be divided, with a certain amount of oversimplification, into those which see the meaning of an expression as principally a matter of what the expression denotes or stands for, and those which see it as a matter of how the expression is used. A prominent place among the latter ones is assumed by those which identify the semantically relevant aspect of the usage of an expression with an inferential pattern governing it. According to these theories, the meaning of an expression is principally its inferential role.

See also:

[1]. Brandom, Hegel and Inferentialism

By Tom Rockmore

In the course of developing a semantics with epistemological intent, Brandom claims that his inferentialism is Hegelian. This paper argues that, even on a charitable reading, Brandom is an anti-Hegelian.

Keywords: Hegel, Brandom, Rorty, Inferentialism, Semantics
Source: International Journal of Philosophical Studies, Volume 10, Number 4 / November 01, 2002

Go to page (for subscribers)

[2]. Brandom on the Normativity of Meaning

By Shapiro L.

Brandom's "inferentialism" - his theory that an expression's or state's contentfulness consists in its use or occurrence being governed by inferential norms - proves dubiously compatible with his own deflationary approach to underwriting the objectivity of intentional content (an approach that is one of the theory's essential presuppositions). This is because a deflationist argument, adapted from the case of truth to that of correct inference , undermines the key criterion of adequacy Brandom employs in motivating inferentialism. Once that constraint is abandoned, furthermore, Brandom is left vulnerable to the charge thathis inferential norms are unavailable toplay the meaning-constituting role he claims for them. Yet Brandom's account of meaning tacitly intertwines inferentialism with a separate explanatory project, one that in explaining the pragmatic significance of meaning-attributions does yield a convincing construal of the claim that the concept of meaning is a normative one.

Source: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 1 January 2004, vol. 68, no. 1, pp. 141-160(20)

Go to page (for subscribers)

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Thursday, 3 February 2005 16:50 GMT
Monday, 24 January 2005

Topic: Syn-Sem Interface

Fragments and ellipsis

By Jason Merchant

Fragmentary utterances such as `short' answers and subsentential XPs without linguistic antecedents are proposed to have fully sentential syntactic structures, subject to ellipsis. Ellipsis in these cases is preceded by A'-movement of the fragment to a clause peripheral position; the combination of movement and ellipsis accounts for a wide range of connectivity and anti-connectivity effects in these structures. Fragment answers furthermore shed light on the nature of islands, and contrast with sluicing in triggering island effects; this is shown to follow from an articulated syntax and the PF theory of islands. Fragments without linguistic antecedents are argued to be compatible with an ellipsis analysis, and do not support direct interpretation approaches to these phenomena.

Note: To appear in Linguistics and Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 15:10 GMT
Saturday, 15 January 2005

I ask the Paraconsistent Logicians that happened upon this blog to comment on the paper below with special attention, and write their thoughts.

On Partial and Paraconsistent Logics

By Reinhard Muskens

In this paper we consider the theory of predicate logics in which the principle of Bivalence or the principle of Non-Contradiction or both fail. Such logics are partial or paraconsistent or both. We consider sequent calculi for these logics and prove Model Existence. For L4, the most general logic under consideration, we also prove a version of the Craig-Lyndon Interpolation Theorem. The paper shows that many techniques used for classical predicate logic generalise to partial and paraconsistent logics once the right set-up is chosen. Our logic L4 has a semantics that also underlies Belnap's and is related to the logic of bilattices. L4 is in focus most of the time, but it is also shown how results obtained for L4 can be transferred to several variants.

Source: Semantics Archive
See it

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Saturday, 15 January 2005 15:33 GMT
Wednesday, 12 January 2005

Now Playing: REPOSTED
Topic: Cognition & Epistemology

A Puzzle Concerning Time Perception

By Robin Le Poidevin

According to a plausible and influential account of perceptual knowledge, the truth-makers of beliefs that constitute perceptual knowledge must feature in the causal explanation of how we acquire those beliefs. However, this account runs into difficulties when it tries to accommodate time perception --specifically perception of order and duration -since the features we are apparently tracking in such perception are (it is argued) not causal. The central aim of the paper is to solve this epistemological puzzle. Two strategies are examined. The first strategy locates the causal truth-makers within the psychological mechanism underlying time perception, thus treating facts about time order and duration as mind-dependent. This strategy, however, is problematic. The second strategy modifies the causal account of perceptual knowledge to include a non-causal component in the explanation of belief-acquisition, namely chronometric explanation. Applying this much more satisfactory approach to perceptual knowledge of time, we can preserve the mind-independence of order and duration, but not that of time's flow.

For subscribers

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 12 January 2005 03:32 GMT
Tuesday, 11 January 2005

Now Playing: REPOSTED
Topic: Cognition & Epistemology

Realism about Structure: The Semantic View and Non-linguistic Representations

By Steven French and Juha Saatsi
Source: PhilSci Archive

The central concern of this paper is whether the Semantic Approach to theories has the resources to appropriately capture the core tenets of structural realism. Chakravartty, for example, has argued that a realist notion of correspondence cannot be accommodated without introducing a linguistic component which undermines the Approach itself. We suggest first of all, that this worry can be addressed by an appropriate understanding of the role of language with respect to the Semantic Approach. Secondly, we argue that an appropriately structuralist account of representation can serve the structural realist's needs. However, the real challenge, we feel, is whether a core notion of `explanatory approximate truth' can be incorporated into this account and in such a way that the emphasis on structure is retained. The extent to which this challenge can be met is something on which even the authors are divided!


Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 12 January 2005 03:35 GMT
Monday, 10 January 2005

Now Playing: REPOSTED

The Inconsistency View on Vagueness

By Matti Eklund

I elaborate and defend the inconsistency view on vagueness I have earlier argued for in my (2002) and (forthcoming). In rough outline, the view is that the sorites paradox arises because tolerance principles, despite their inconsistency, are meaning-constitutive for vague expressions. Toward the end of the paper I discuss other inconsistency views on vagueness that have been proposed, and compare them to the view I favor.

See it

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Thursday, 6 January 2005 19:02 GMT
Sunday, 9 January 2005

Now Playing: REPOSTED

Negative Inversion

By Daniel Buring

In this paper I set out to explore the conditions under which preposed phrases trigger inversion. Pushing the hypothesis that all and only those phrases that can license NPIs trigger inversion, I was then forced to come up with a story for all those cases in which an otherwise attestedly negative element seemed to fail to trigger inversion. This strategy revealed a number of straightforward ambiguities that distinguished seemingly minimal pairs such as the with no clothes and not even ten years ago cases.
Extending this line of analysis to the case of less than and its kin (at most, not more than. . . ) lead to the discovery of two distinct semantic construals of these quantifiers, modifying and cumulative v. scope taking and distributive. The analysis I provided for these cases maintains the initial hypothesis that all negative phrases obligatorily trigger inversion, and that, conversely, the non-inverted cases are not DE. An account was given for the subtly, yet clear meaning-differences, the lack of DE, and the difference in prosodic patterning. Finally, the impossibility of no-quantifiers in plain topicalization was traced back to a more general restriction on the relative scope of these and the event quantifier.

Source: Semantics Archive

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Sunday, 9 January 2005 12:41 GMT
Saturday, 8 January 2005

Now Playing: REPOSTED

A Positive Formalization
for the Notion of Pragmatic Truth

By Tarcisio Pequeno, Arthur Buchsbaum & Marcelino Pequeno

A logic aimed to formalize the concept of pragmatic truth is presented. We start by examining a previous attempt of formalization by da Costa and collaborators, reported in Mikenberg, da Costa, and Chuaqui (1986), da Costa, Chuaqui, and Bueno (1996) and da Costa, Bueno and French(1998). However, their formalization works as mere possibility in face of what is known, or assumed. It is pointed out here that not being in conflict with the assumed knowledge is not enough to regard a proposition as a truth of any sort, providing just a necessary condition.
A typical picture of the way a scientific theory evolves exhibit alternative hypothesis competing for expanding the theory. In our view, a pragmatic knowledge, at this stage of development of the theory, is one that can be taken as true under all those competing hypothesis. The logic presented here formalizes this process of theory evolution in order to properly express the notion of pragmatic truth as we understand it.

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Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Saturday, 8 January 2005 13:12 GMT
Friday, 7 January 2005

Now Playing: REPOSTED

Decidability of Quantified Propositional Intuitionistic Logic and S4 on Trees of Height and Arity [le] [omega]

By Richard Zach

Quantified propositional intuitionistic logic is obtained from propositional intuitionistic logic by adding quantifiers [forall] p,[exist] p, where the propositional variables range over upward-closed subsets of the set of worlds in a Kripke structure. If the permitted accessibility relations are arbitrary partial orders, the resulting logic is known to be recursively isomorphic to full second-order logic (Kremer, 1997). It is shown that if the Kripke structures are restricted to trees of at height and width at most [omega] , the resulting logics are decidable. This provides a partial answer to a question by Kremer. The result also transfers to modal S4 and some G?del-Dummett logics with quantifiers over propositions.

Source: Journal of Philosophical Logic

link 1
link 2

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Thursday, 6 January 2005 18:51 GMT
Thursday, 6 January 2005

Now Playing: REPOSTED

Yablo's paradox rides again: a reply to Ketland

By Otavio Bueno & Mark Colyvan

Yablo ' s paradox is generated by the following (infinite) list of sentences (called Yablo's list):
(S1) For all k> 1, Sk is not true.
(S2) For all k> 2, Sk is not true.
(S3) For all k> 3, Sk is not true.
(Sn) For all k>n, Sk is not true.

A little reflection reveals that this list is paradoxical. The source and nature of the paradox has been the focus of a fascinating debate. The crucial issue, of course, is whether Yablo's paradox involves circularity. Stephen Yablo (1993), Roy Sorensen (1998), and Bueno and Colyvan (2003b) have argued that the Yablo list generates a liar-like paradox without circularity. In the other camp are Graham Priest (1997) and JC Beall (2001), who argue that the paradox involves a fixed-point construction and therefore is circular. In Bueno and Colyvan (2003a), we respond by showing that there is a way of deriving a contradiction from the Yablo list without invoking any fixed-point construction and so, it would seem, the paradox does not essentially involve circularity.
In a recent paper, Jeffrey Ketland (2004) argues that our response is incorrect, and claims that the derivation presented in our paper is invalid.


Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Thursday, 6 January 2005 18:42 GMT

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