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LINGUISTIX&LOGIK, Tony Marmo's blog
Tuesday, 8 November 2005


Are Intensions Necessary? Sense as the Construction of Reference

By Almerindo Ojeda

It seems that PEST can overcome the difficulties that have hitherto plagued the extensional theory of meaning. As we have seen in the course of this paper, PEST can account for the variable informativeness of identity statements, the failure of substitution in opaque contexts, the compositional interpretation of modal verbs and adverbs, the non-trivial nature of counterfactuals, and the non-synonymy of vacuous predicates.

In fact, there are instances in which the accounts of these facts provided by PEST are actually better than the ones provided by possible-worlds semantics. For one thing, PEST accounts are by and large simpler, less abstract, and more intuitive than those issuing from the intensional account.

Source: Semantics Archive

Posted by Tony Marmo at 08:08 GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 8 November 2005 08:09 GMT


The Gap Between Meaning and Assertion

By Scott Soames

A conception of meaning as least common denominator is presented according to which the semantic content of S is that which is common to what is asserted by utterances of S in all normal contexts. Although the content of S is often a complete proposition, and, hence, a proper candidate for being asserted and believed, in some cases it is only a skeleton, or partial specification, of such a proposition. In many contexts, the semantic content of S -- whether it is a complete proposition or not -- interacts with an expanded conception of pragmatics to generate a pragmatically enriched proposition that it is the speaker's primary intention to assert. Other propositions count as asserted only when they are relevant, unmistakable, necessary and apriori consequences of the speaker's primary assertions, together with salient presuppositions of the conversational background.

Source:Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 8 November 2005 08:15 GMT
Tuesday, 18 October 2005


Formal Linking in Internally Headed Relatives

By Min-Joo Kim

The present paper investigates how morphosyntax, semantics, and pragmatics work together to produce the so-called Internally Headed Relative Clause (IHRC) construction in Korean and Japanese. The IHRC construction exhibits a mismatch between the syntax and semantics and a delimited discourse-sensitivity in its interpretation. In recent literature, E-type pronoun analyses have been proposed to capture these properties of the construction (e.g., Hoshi 1995, Shimoyama 1999).
The existing E-type pronoun analyses have been successful in accounting for the syntax and semantics mismatch and the discourse-sensitivity of the construction, but they fail to explain why the discourse-sensitivity is delimited, that is, why the E-type pronoun needs to be formally linked to its semantic antecedent. This paper resolves this problem by proposing an interpretive tool which establishes a formal link between the E-type pronoun and the event structure of the embedded clause. In so doing, it shows that what is alleged to be a purely pragmatic phenomenon is in fact regulated by principles of grammar.

Keywords: IHRC, E-type pronoun, binding, eventuality

Source: Semantics Archive

Posted by Tony Marmo at 14:28 BST
Friday, 30 September 2005


Types of degrees and types of event structures

By Patrick Caudal & David Nicolas

In this paper, we investigate how certain types of predicates should be connected with certain types of degree scales, and how this can affect the events they describe.
The distribution and interpretation of various degree adverbials will serve us as a guideline in this perspective. They suggest that two main types of degree scales should be distinguished:
(i) quantity scales, which are characterized by the semantic equivalence of Yannig ate the cake partially and Yannig ate part of the cake; quantity scales only appear with verbs possessing an incremental theme (cf. Dowty 1991);

(ii) intensity scales, which are characterized by degree modifiers (e.g., "extremely", "perfectly") receiving an intensive interpretation; intensity scales typically occur with verbs morphologically related to an adjective (to dry).

More generally, we capitalize on a typology of degree structures to explain how degrees play a central role with respect to event structure.

In C. Maienborn and A. W?llstein, Ed. Proceedings Event arguments: foundations and applications.

Source: Jean Nicod

Posted by Tony Marmo at 17:17 BST
Tuesday, 27 September 2005


Telic senses of deadjectival verbs

By Kate Kearns

In this paper I address two main issues in the semantics of deadjectival verbs.
First, I review alternative accounts of the nature of the telos associated with a deadjectival verb on a telic interpretation. Traditional accounts gloss the telic sense of a deadjectival verb as 'become A': for example, the telic interpretation of The sky cleared is 'The sky became clear'. On this account, the telos of the event denoted by telic clear is the onset of the state denoted by The sky is clear. An alternative account by Hay, Kennedy, and Levin (1999) is based on the property scale associated with an adjective and its derived verb. Property scales may be open, with no maximal degree of the property (i.e. no upper bound), or closed, in which case the property has a maximal possible degree beyond which no higher degrees of the property exist, and the maximal degree of the property constitutes the upper bound of the scale. Hay, Kennedy, and Levin argue that a telic interpretation arises where a deadjectival verb is interpreted with reference to a closed property scale. In the event denoted by a telic deadjectival verb, the theme of change traverses the property scale to the upper bound, the maximal possible degree of the property. For example, in The sky cleared on a telic interpretation, the sky is understood to traverse the scale of increasing degrees of clearness until the maximum possible degree of clearness is reached. On this account, the telos is the onset of the state in which the sky is maximally clear, such that it could not be clearer. I argue in favour of the traditional view that a telic deadjectival verb denotes 'become A', and against the alternative account that a telic deadjectival verb denotes 'become maximally A'.
By way of clarification preparatory to the main discussion, I show that deadjectival verbs have two types of telic sense, an achievement sense and an accomplishment sense. The telic sense at issue in the traditional telic/atelic contrast is the accomplishment sense.
I also argue that the availability of telic and atelic senses of deadjectival verbs is generally predictable from characteristics of the state denoted by x is A. The telic (accomplishment) sense of a deadjectival verb is available only if the property region that counts as 'A' has a lower bound (i.e. the least degree that counts as 'A') which is accessible to modification. The telic (accomplishment) sense is the strong default reading where x is A entails that x bears the maximal possible degree of the relevant property.

Keywords: deadjectival verbs; telicity; property scales; achievements; accomplishments; resultatives.

Source: Semantics Archive
To appear in Lingua

Posted by Tony Marmo at 08:30 BST
Updated: Tuesday, 27 September 2005 08:40 BST
Saturday, 24 September 2005


Context Dependent Quantifiers and Donkey Anaphora

By Jeffrey King

I have tried to give you an overview of the wide range of “non-donkey” data covered by the CDQ theory. I have also tried to gesture at certain methodological advantages the theory has over certain competitors. Finally, I have explained how the theory can handle donkey anaphora, by appealing to independently motivated accounts of the semantics of conditionals and adverbs of quantification. As a result of this, I hope to have convinced you that the CDQ account of anaphora and instantial terms is a promising one.

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 14:06 BST
Wednesday, 14 September 2005



By Andrea Bonomi

If we start from the actualist interpretation and consider the necessitation of the corresponding diagonal proposition, we get the modal interpretation of the future. Symmetrically, if we start from this interpretation and keep the reference to the presumed actual world constant, we get the actualist reading (see (MA) in a previous section). In general, actualism and modalism (based on the settledness condition) can be seen as two distinct, but related, attitudes that speakers can have when dealing with the future. As we have just remarked, the notion of an "actual" future is necessarily underspecified with respect to the contextual information. To overcome this difficulty, we can assume a "wait and see" attitude and focus on the course of events that in the end happens to be actualized, as stated in (O). Alternatively, we can stick to past and present facts in order to verify whether, in the light of these facts, the truth (falsehood) of the statement at issue is already settled, i. e. independent on which possible future will be actualized.

(Bonomi, Siena Lectures, May 2005. Comments welcome)
Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 BST
Updated: Wednesday, 14 September 2005 00:25 BST


The Semantics of Ellipsis

By Paul Elbourne

There are four phenomena that are particularly troublesome for theories of ellipsis: the existence of sloppy readings when the relevant pronouns cannot possibly be bound; an ellipsis being resolved in such a way that an ellipsis site in the antecedent is not understood in the way it was there; an ellipsis site drawing material from two or more separate antecedents; and ellipsis with no linguistic antecedent. These cases are accounted for by means of a new theory that involves copying syntactically incomplete antecedent material and an analysis of silent VPs and NPs that makes them into higher order definite descriptions that can be bound into.

Keywords: VP-ellipsis, NP-deletion, definite descriptions
Source: Semantics Archive

Sunday, 14 August 2005

I have placed this paper online in a very raw version, because I really want any help anyone wants to offer me. Thanks.

Opacity and Paradoxes

The Paraconsistent Semantics of Natural Languages

By Tony Marmo

(Draft Version 06-alpha.2. Please, comments, suggestions and corrections are welcome)

The purpose of this work is to revisit opaque contexts from the perspective of natural languages. Opacity has been understood firstly as failure of the application of Leibniz’ substitution of identicals principle and later as accessibility relations holding between possible worlds. However, opacity in the semantics of natural languages ought to be simply characterised truth-functionally, in which case it results from devices that both avoid paradoxical interpretation of sentences and circumvent the principle of Pseudo-Scotus. Accordingly, what is herein proposed is a solution based on a kind of Paraconsistent Semantics for natural languages.

Keywords: Propositional Attitudes, Semantics, Philosophy of Language, Linguistics, Logic, Accessibility Relations, Belief Reports, Consistency, Human Languages Semantics, Intensional Liar, Leibniz’ Law, Moore’s Paradox, Opacity, Paraconsistency.
Update (Of related Interest): [1]; [2]

Source: LingBuzz, Semantics Archive, Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 02:41 BST
Friday, 12 August 2005


Respective Answers to Coordinated Questions

By Jean Mark Gawron & Andrew Kehler

Munn’s examples are instances of respective readings and not functional readings. Our analysis captures these readings, as well as those for a range of other filler-gap constructions, since RESP operators routinely intervene between constituent-based dependencies in the syntax and predicate-argument relations in the semantics. As a result we are able to account for cases that share essential characteristics with Munn’s examples but which are not candidates for a functional analysis. These same examples conspire to demonstrate that the identity constraint on ATB extraction cannot be maintained.

Source: Semantics Archive

Posted by Tony Marmo at 05:41 BST
Updated: Friday, 12 August 2005 05:43 BST
Monday, 8 August 2005



Many-Valued and Kripke Semantics

By Jean-Yves Beziau

Today many people identify Kripke semantics with modal logic. Typically a book called “modal logic” nowadays is a book about Kripke semantics (cf. e.g. the recent book by [Blackburn et al (2001)]). But modal logic can be developed using other kinds of semantics and Kripke semantics can be used to deal with many different logics and it is totally absurd to call all of these logics “modal logics”. Kripke semantics are also often called “possible worlds semantics”, however this is quite misleading because the crucial feature of these semantics is not the concept of possible world but the relation of accessibility. Possible worlds can easily be eliminated from the definition of Kripke semantics and then the accessibility relation is defined directly between the bivaluations. For this reason it seems better to use the terminology “relational semantics”. Of course, if we want, we can call these bivaluations "possible worlds", this metaphor can be useful, but then why using this metaphor only in the case of relational semantics? In fact in the Tractatus Wittgenstein used the expression “truth-possibilities” for the classical bivaluations. Other concepts of the semantics of classical zero-order logic were expressed by him using a modal terminology: he said that a formula is necessary if it holds for all truth possibilities, impossible if it holds for none, and possible if it holds for some. But Wittgenstein was against the introduction of modal concepts inside the language as modal operators.
Many-valued and Kripke semantics may be philosophically controversial, anyway they are very useful and powerful technical tools which can be fruitfully used to give a mathematical account of basic philosophical notions, such as modalities. It seems to me that instead of focusing on the one hand on some little philosophical problems and on the other hand on some developments limited to one technique, one should promote a better interaction between philosophy and logic developing a wide range of techniques, as for example the combination of Kripke semantics (extended as to include Jaskowski semantics) and Many-Valued semantics (extended as to include non truth-functional many-valued semantics). My aim in this paper is to give a hint of how these techniques can be developed by presenting various examples.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 BST
Updated: Monday, 8 August 2005 05:32 BST
Saturday, 6 August 2005


Conditional truth and future reference

By Stefan Kaufmann

This paper proposes a compositional model-theoretic account of the way the interpretation of indicative conditionals is determined and constrained by the temporal and modal expressions in their constituents. The main claim is that the tenses in both the antecedent and the consequent of an indicative conditional are interpreted in the same way as in isolation. This is controversial for the antecedents of predictive conditionals like ‘ If he arrives tomorrow, she will leave ’, whose Present tense is often claimed to differ semantically from that in their stand-alone counterparts, such as ‘He arrives tomorrow ’. Under the unified analysis developed in this paper, the differences observed in pairs like these are explained by interactions between the temporal and modal dimensions of interpretation. This perspective also sheds new light on the relationship between ‘non-predictive’ and ‘epistemic’ readings of indicative conditionals.

Appeared in the Journal of Semantics, August 2005

Posted by Tony Marmo at 17:25 BST


Intention-based Semantics

By Emma Borg

If we want to develop an intention-based semantics for natural language, it seems that we should follow the weaker, A-style approach (here attributed to Grice) rather than assign any more substantive role to speaker intentions. Yet, if this is the case, a question might now emerge concerning the relation of IBS to other varieties of semantic theory. Specifically, it is no longer clear to what degree IBS constitutes a genuine alternative to the approach of formal semantics (e.g. a truth-conditional approach, such as that instigated by Davidson). According to formal semantic theories the route to semantic content follows an exclusively syntactic path. That is to say, all propositional or truth-conditional semantic content can be traced back to the syntactic level and it is delivered by formal operations over the syntactic representations of sentences. Just as with an A-style IBS approach, the formal theorist will maintain that (formally described) sentences, rather than utterances, are the primary bearers of semantic content.

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 16:46 BST
Updated: Saturday, 6 August 2005 16:49 BST
Friday, 5 August 2005


From Semantic Restrictions to Reciprocal Meanings

By Yoad Winter & Sivan Sabato

This paper proposes a new approach to the interpretation of reciprocal expressions using the Strongest Meaning Hypothesis of Dalrymple et al (1998). We propose a system in which reciprocal meanings are derived directly from semantic restrictions using the SMH, and characterize this derivation process. We present methods to construct a linguistic test for the availability of a reciprocal meaning, or otherwise to prove that a specific meaning is not available for reciprocals. These methods are then used to analyze two controversial reciprocal meanings.

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 15:28 BST
Thursday, 4 August 2005


A Metasemantic Account of Vagueness

By Agustin Rayo

I argue for an account of vagueness according to which the root of vagueness lies not in the type of semantic-value that is best associated with an expression, but in the type of linguistic practice that renders the expression meaningful. I suggest, in particular, that conventions about how to use sentences involving attributions of vague predicates to borderline cases prevail to a lesser degree than conventions about how to use sentences involving attributions of vague predicates to clear cases.

Source: PhOnline

See also.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 16:59 BST

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