Many philosophers have suggested that claims of need play a special normative role in ethical thought and talk. But what do such claims mean? What does this special role amount to? Progress on these questions can be made by attending to a puzzle concerning some linguistic differences between two types of 'need' sentence: one where 'need' occurs as a verb, and where it occurs as a noun. I argue that the resources developed to solve the puzzle advance our understanding of (...) the metaphysics of need, the meaning of 'need' sentences, and the function of claims of need in ethical discourse. (shrink)
We present in this paper a novel ontological theory of events whose central tenet is the Aristotelian distinction between the object that changes and the actual subject of change, which is what we call an individual quality. While in the Kimian tradition events are individuated by a triple ⟨ o, P, t ⟩, where o is an object, P a property, and t an interval of time, for us the simplest events are qualitative changes, individuated by a triple ⟨ o, (...) q, t ⟩, where q is an individual quality inhering in o or in one of its parts. Detaching the individuation of events from the property they exemplify results in a fine-grained theory that keeps metaphysics and semantics clearly separate, and lies between the multiplicative and the unitarian approaches. We discuss then the way language refers to events, observing that, in most cases, event descriptions refer to complex, cognitively relevant clusters of co-occurring qualitative changes, which exhibit a synchronic structure depending on the way they are described. Contra Bennett, who famously argued that the semantics of event names ultimately depends on “local context and unprincipled intuitions”, we show how the lexicon provides systematic principles for individuating such clusters and classifying them into kinds. Finally, we address some open challenges in the semantics of locative and manner modifiers. (shrink)
This is a research report in which we present examples which should be of interest to those working on clausal embedding and dubitative verbs. Examples are presented which are relevant to the evaluation of claims and arguments in: (Karttunen 1977), (Uegaki 2021), (Huddleston 1994), (Biezma & Rawlins 2012), (Roelofsen; Herbstritt; & Aloni 2019), (Suñer 1993), and (Rawlins 2008). The examples are mostly from English, but we also present some examples from Italian, Spanish, and German.
We offer a syntax–semantics interface for a previously undiscussed type of event-external pluractional operator. While earlier literature discusses overt cases of such operators that act as derivational affixes and attach at the V-level, we here report evidence for a covert operator, which behaves like an inflectional affix at the level of Aspect. This analysis enriches our understanding of pluractional operators as markers of verbal plurality in languages where verbs are lexically cumulative and pluractionality as accounted for previously would appear to (...) be superfluous, at least at first sight. We formulate our claims on the basis of the Romanian supine, whose nominal form has previously been argued to carry a pluractional operator. (shrink)
Hintikka's second generation epistemic logic introduces a syntactic device allowing to express independence relations between certain logical constants. De re knowledge attributions can be reformulated in terms of quantifier independence, but the reformulation does not extend to non‐factive attitudes like belief. There, formulae with independent quantifiers serve to express a new type of attitude, intermediate between de dicto and de re, called ‘de objecto’: in each possible world compatible with the agent's belief, there is an individual with the specified property (...) – in each world the same individual, which or who need not exist actually. The philosophical benefits of our analysis of propositional attitudes include a refined account of the behaviour of proper names as well as of indefinite and definite descriptions in attitude reports. Some remarks about perception and about the hallucination argument are also presented. (shrink)
In this article we give a detailed presentation of state event logic which is a modal logic for reasoning about concurrent events and causality between events  State event logic differs from previous approaches in the following directions: First, events enjoy the same attention as states. In the same way as states can be viewed as models of the formulae describing the facts that hold in them we think of events as models of the formulae describing the subevents. Second, instead (...) of postulating just one set of states as primitive objects we use two sets, a set of states and a set of events In terms of modal logic, the universe then becomes a set of pairsin which the first component is a state and the second is an event following the state. The connection between two subsequent pairs is expressed by an accessibility relation.Propositional and first-order state event logic are formulated and illustrated with examplese.From these examples we can immediately infer that state event logic can also be applied for the representation of real world scenarios. Finally we added a thorough discussion on related approaches. (shrink)
Many studies show a developmental advantage for transitive sentences with familiar verbs over those with novel verbs. It might be that once familiar verbs become entrenched in particular constructions, they would be more difficult to understand (than would novel verbs) in non-prototypical constructions. We provide support for this hypothesis investigating German children using a forced-choice pointing paradigm with reversed agent-patient roles. We tested active transitive verbs in study 1. The 2-year olds were better with familiar than novel verbs, while the (...) 2½-year olds pointed correctly for both. In study 2, we tested passives: 2½-year olds were significantly below chance for familiar verbs and at chance for novel verbs, supporting the hypothesis that the entrenchment of the familiar verbs in the active transitive voice was interfering with interpreting them in the passive voice construction. The 3½-year olds were also at chance for novel verbs but above chance with familiar verbs. We interpret this as reflecting a lessening of the verb-in-construction entrenchment as the child develops knowledge that particular verbs can occur in a range of constructions. The 4½-year olds were above chance for both familiar and novel verbs. We discuss our findings in terms of the relative entrenchment of lexical and syntactic information and to interference between them. (shrink)
This paper shows that a VP in English is only a VP at the outset of a derivation, and that VP-preposing in English is in fact preposing of the internal arguments of the verb, followed by remnant movement of the original VP. Therefore, English looks much more like German (Muller (1998)), than it appears at first glance The evidence for the non-constituency of the verb and its original arguments in preposed position comes from its solution to what has been termed (...) Pesetsky’s Paradox, in that an object of a preposed VP can bind into an adverbial at the end of a sentence. The paradox results from the incompatibility of the phenomenon with the conjunction of two assumptions: (i) binding requires c-command; (ii) only constituents move.. Assumption (i) requires the object to be higher than the adverbial, but the preposing of the verb and object to the exclusion of the adverbial would then require that a non-constituent (the verb and object) prepose. (shrink)
This paper defends a distinction between ‘abstract states’ and ‘concrete states’, following Maienborn (2005, 2007) in her account of the peculiar semantic behavior of stative verbs. The paper proposes an ontological account of the notion of an abstract state and discusses how it relates to the notion of a trope or particularized property, which has so far been neglected in the semantic literature on stative verbs.
We argue that the infinitival complements of subject-control and subject-to-subject raising verbs in Hungarian can have overt nominative subjects. The infinitival subject status of these DPs is diagnosed by constituent order, binding properties, and scope interpretation. Long-distance Agree(ment) and multiple agreement are crucial to their overtness.
Quantification over individuals, times, and worlds can in principle be made explicit in the syntax of the object language, or left to the semantics and spelled out in the meta-language. The traditional view is that quantification over individuals is syntactically explicit, whereas quantification over times and worlds is not. But a growing body of literature proposes a uniform treatment. This paper examines the scopal interaction of aspectual raising verbs (begin), modals (can), and intensional raising verbs (threaten) with quantificational subjects in (...) Shupamem, Dutch, and English. It appears that aspectual raising verbs and at least modals may undergo the same kind of overt or covert scope-changing operations as nominal quantifiers; the case of intensional raising verbs is less clear. Scope interaction is thus shown to be a new potential diagnostic of object-linguistic quantification, and the similarity in the scope behavior of nominal and verbal quantifiers supports the grammatical plausibility of ontological symmetry, explored in Schlenker (2006). (shrink)
It is one of the attractions of Greek syntax that it provides an abundance of usages which require careful discrimination, if we are to appreciate their value; and which at the same time present problems of interpretation which have not been completely solved. This is particularly the case with the use of the negatives, and it is one of these constructions with which we are concerned here.
The grammarian Caesellius Vindex, writing under Trajan, criticized Furius Antias for his newly coined verbs lutescere, noctescere, opulescere and vīrescere. Their meanings in classical Latin are classified by Nicolaie as follows: becoming, the intensification of a quality, the acquisition of a quality. Their number increases in post-classical Latin, in which we also find them used causatively as transitive verbs, e.g. innotescere ‘make known’; Gellius' causative use of inolesco is mentioned below. Incohative verbs descend to Romance languages, where forms in -o (...) and in -sco both contribute to some conjugations, e.g. Fr. finir, finissant; It. finire, finisco, and to English. (shrink)
My main aim is to clarify what we mean by ‘look’ sentences such as (1) below – ones that we use to talk about visual experience: -/- (1) The ball looked red to Sue -/- This is to help better understand a part of natural language that has so far resisted treatment, and also to help better understand the nature of visual experience. -/- By appealing to general linguistic principles I argue for the following account. First, we use (1) to (...) talk about an event. Second, we use the verb ‘look’ to specify the kind of event about which we are talking – it is a looking event. Third, we use the subject ‘the ball’ to specify a stimulus of the event – something that looks some way in the event. Fourth, we use the adjunct ‘to Sue’ to specify an experiencer of the event – someone to whom things look some way in the event. Finally, we use the complement ‘red’ to specify a way of the event – a way in which the event occurs (I take ways of occurring to be properties of events). Which way do we use ‘red’ in (1) to specify? I argue: the maximally specific way w such that the following is generically true: looking events whose stimulus is red occur in way w (it is important that this is understood generically: this is what does much of the work in explaining our use of (1) and other ‘look’ sentences). Putting this together, what we mean by (1) is: there was a looking event whose stimulus was the ball, whose experiencer was Sue, and which occurred in the maximally specific way that looking events occur when their stimulus is red. -/- This account of how we use ‘red’ in (1) is one of the most interesting aspects of my thesis. It extends to an account of how we use ‘proud’ in ‘John walks proud’, ‘as if he is American’ in ‘John talks as if he is American’, ‘like a duck’ in ‘John sounds like a duck’, and so on. In each case we use the expression in question to specify a way: the maximally specific way proud people walk, the maximally specific way American people talk, and so on. So the study of ‘look’ sentences has much to tell us about the functioning of many other English language constructions, and suggests that ways have a significant role to play in the semantics of natural language – a fact that has not yet been sufficiently recognised by linguists or philosophers of language. -/- My thesis also has implications for the philosophy of perception. One of the central questions about perception is: What is the nature of visual experience? What is it, for example, for a ball to look red to Sue? My thesis offers an answer: What it is for the ball to look red to Sue is for whatever it is that we mean by ‘The ball looks red to Sue’ to be the case, and what we mean by ‘The ball looks red to Sue’ is that there is a looking event whose stimulus is the ball, whose experiencer is Sue, and which is occurring in a certain way. It thus delivers an adverbial account of visual experience, one that has the resources to better deal with problems that are traditionally thought to be decisive against adverbial accounts. (shrink)
This paper pursues some of the consequences of the idea that there are (at least) two sources for distributive/cumulative interpretations in English. One source is lexical pluralization: All predicative stems are born as plurals, as Manfred Krifka and Fred Landman have argued. Lexical pluralization should be available in any language and should not depend on the particular make-up of its DPs. I suggest that the other source of cumulative/distributive interpretations in English is directly provided by plural DPs. DPs with plural (...) agreement features can ‘release’ those features to pluralize adjacent verbal projections. If there is a lexical source for distributive/cumulative interpretations, there should be instances of such interpretations with singular DPs. But there should also be cases of distributive/cumulative interpretations that require the presence of DPs with plural agreement morphology. (shrink)
Verb phrases seems to be head initial in affirmative sentences in Lokaa (a Niger-Congo language of the Cross River area of Nigeria) but head final in negative clauses and gerunds. This article aspires to give a comprehensive description of this phenomenon, together with a theoretical analysis. It considers how a full range of grammatical elements are ordered in both kinds of clauses—including direct objects, second objects, particles, weak pronouns, complement clauses, serial verbs, adverbs, prepositional phrases, tense/mood particles, and auxiliary verbs. (...) The pattern that emerges is a bit different from the one found in some superficially similar languages, such as Vata, Bambara, Nupe, and Nweh. I argue that the details are correctly explained by a “remnant movement” theory in which the Lokaa verb first moves out of the verb phrase to combine with tense/agreement inflection, and then the rest of the verb phrase moves as a unit into a specifier position at the top of the clause. This position is available because the notional subject undergoes dislocation in Lokaa, as has been claimed for many of its Bantu kin. (shrink)
These components are distinguishable in verbal expressing: (1) the judging act, (2) the sense expressed by (3) the verbal expression, Which is embodied in (4) sounds/marks, And (5) the thing(s) which the expression is about. The essay focuses on verbal expressions showing that they are ideal individuals: they remain identifiably the same through variations in their embodiments. While real individuals "exemplify" universals, Verbal expressions are "embodied" by real sounds or marks. Expressions, Like melodies or folk dances, Combine ideality with mutability (...) (historical change): they are thus ideal individuals and neither "real" individuals nor ideal "universals". (shrink)
Metaphysicians often declare that there are large ontological differences (properties versus individuals, universals versus particulars) correlated with the linguistic distinction between names and verbs. Gaskin argues against all such declarations on the grounds that we may quantify with equal ease over the referents of both types of expression. However, his argument must be wrong, given the massive differences between first- and second-order qualification. Its only grain of truth is that these differences show up only in the logic of relations, and (...) not also in monadic logic. (shrink)
There are enormous differences between quantifying name-variables only, quantifying verb-variables only, and quantifying both. These differences are found only in the logic of polyadic predication; and this presumably is why Richard Gaskin thinks that they distinguish names from transitive verbs only, and not from verbs generally. But that thought is mistaken: these differences also distinguish names from intransitive verbs. They thus vindicate the common idea that on the difference between names and verbs we may base grandiose metaphysical distinctions, and undermine (...) Gaskin's idea that both names and verbs may be said to designate objects. (shrink)
The main focus of this article is the occurrence of some polarity items (PIs) in the complements of emotive factive verbs and only. This fact has been taken as a challenge to the semantic approach to PIs (Linebarger 1980), because only and factive verbs are not downward entailing (DE). A modification of the classical DE account is proposed by introducing the notion of nonveridicality (Zwarts 1995, Giannakidou 1998, 1999, 2001) as the one crucial for PI sanctioning. To motivate this move, (...) it is first shown that two solutions in the direction of weakening classical monotonicity do not work: Strawson DE (von Fintel 1999) and weak DE (Hoeksema 1986). Weakening DE systematically either overgenerates or undergenerates, in either case failing to characterize the correct set of licensers. Nonveridicality is introduced as a conservative extension of DE and is shown to account for PIs also in contexts that are not DE (i.e. questions, modal verbs, imperatives, directive propositional attitudes). This theory, augmented with the premise that certain PIs (i.e. the liberal class represented by any) are subject to a weaker polarity dependency identified not as LICENSING but as RESCUING by nonveridicality, explains the occurrence of this particular class with only and emotive factive verbs. Crosslinguistic comparisons illustrate that the occurrence of PIs with only and emotive factives is not a general phenomenon, and further support the dual nature of polarity dependency and the semantic characterization of the elements that license or rescue PIs. (shrink)
What explains the rich patterns of deverbal nominalization? Why do some nouns have argument structure, while others do not? We seek a solution in which properties of deverbal nouns are composed from properties of verbs, properties of nouns, and properties of the morphemes that relate them. The theory of each plus the theory of how they combine, should give the explanation. In exploring this, we investigate properties of two theories of nominalization. In one, the verb-like properties of deverbal nouns result (...) from verbal syntactic structure (a “structural model”). See, for example, van Hout & Roeper 1998, Fu, Roeper and Borer 1993, 2001, to appear, Alexiadou 2001, to appear). According to the structural hypothesis, some nouns contain VPs and/or verbal functional layers. In the other theory, the verbal properties of deverbal nouns result from the event structure and argument structure of the DPs that they head. By “event structure” we mean a representation of the elements and structure of a linguistic event, not a representation of the world. We refer to this view as the “event model”. According to the event model hypothesis, all derived nouns are represented with the same syntactic structure, the difference lying in argument structure – which in turn is critically related to event structure, in the way sketched in Grimshaw (1990), Siloni (1997) among others.1 In pursuing these lines of analysis, and at least to some extent disentangling their properties, we reach the conclusion that, with respect to a core set of phenomena, the two theories are remarkably similar – specifically, they achieve success with the same problems, and must resort to the same stipulations to address the remaining issues that we discuss (although the stipulations are couched in different forms). (shrink)
Icelandic is the only Scandinavian language in which the verb always moves past negation, and other sentence adverbials, in embedded clauses. We follow everyone else and take this as evidence that Icelandic as opposed to the other Scandinavian languages has V°-to-I°1 movement (see, e.g., Kosmeijer 1986, Holmberg & Platzack 1990:101, Rohrbacher 1994:30-69, and Vikner 1994:118-127, 1995:ch.5). If we assume that negation and sentence adverbials mark the left edge of VP (they could be adjoined to VP or to TP, for example), (...) then the following embedded questions clearly show that the verb has to move to I° in Icelandic and remain lower in Swedish. (shrink)
Word meaning confronts us, as acutely as anything in syntax, with what Chomsky has called Plato’s problem.1 We know far more about the meaning of almost any word than we could have learned just from our exposure to uses of it. Communication would be unbearably laborious if we did not share with other speakers the ability to generalize the meanings of words in the right ways. As Fodor (1981) notes in arguing for the innateness of lexical semantics, the most we (...) might plausibly have learned about meaning of the verb paint is that it means something like “to cover with paint”. Even if we have only seen this done with a brush, we have no hesitation in applying the verb correctly to novel techniques of painting, such as rolling, spraying, or dipping. But when a vat of paint explodes in a paint factory, covering everyone with paint, or when Vel´. (shrink)
There are a number of well-known restrictions for the Dative Alternation (cf. Green (1974), Oehrle (1976), Gropen, Pinker, Hollander, & Goldberg (1989), Pinker (1989), Pesetsky (1992), Levin (1993). I will show that several of the low-level semantic restrictions are consequences of a more general one involving the incorporation of a manner component into the meaning of the verb. These restrictions can be explained by assuming two distinct representations of verbs participating in the Dative Alternation: The PO frame expresses movement of (...) an object t o a g o a l , the DO frame implies a change of possession. I will argue that these restrictions cannot be expressed in a syntactic representation of lexical meaning as in Pinker (1989) and Hale & Keyser (1993). (shrink)
This book present a unified semantic theory of expressions involving the notions of part and whole. It develops a theory of part structures which differs from traditional (extensional) mereological theories in that the notion of an integrated whole plays a central role and in that the part structure of an entity is allowed to vary across different situations, perspectives, and dimensions. The book presents a great range of empirical generalizations involving plurals, mass nouns, adnominal and adverbial modifiers such as 'whole', (...) 'together', and 'alone', nominal and adverbial quanitfiers ranging over parts, and expressions of completion such as 'completely' and 'partly'. (shrink)