Linguistics and Philosophy 1 (3):321 - 336 (1977)

In this paper I argue for the Atlas-Kempson Thesis that sentences of the form The A is not B are not ambiguous but rather semantically general (Quine), non-specific (Zwicky and Sadock), or vague (G. Lakoff). This observation refutes the 1970 Davidson-Harman hypothesis that underlying structures, as full semantic representations, are logical forms. It undermines the conception of semantical presupposition, removes a support for the existence of truth-value gaps for presuppositional sentences (the remaining arguments for which are viciously circular), and lifts the Russell-Strawson dispute of 1950–1964 from stalemate to a formulation in which a resolution is possible for the first time. Suggestions of Davidson, Montague, Stalnaker, Kaplan and H. P. Grice are shown to be inadequate semantic descriptions of negative, presuppositional sentences. I briefly discuss the radical Pragmatics view of my 1975 publications and suggest that it too fails to do justice to the linguistic data. I speculate that Semantic Representations should be given the form (more or less) of computer programs, describable in Dana Scott's mathematical semantics for programming languages
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DOI 10.1007/BF00353452
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References found in this work BETA

Assertion.Robert Stalnaker - 1978 - Syntax and Semantics (New York Academic Press) 9:315-332.
Assertion.Robert C. Stalnaker - 1978 - In Maite Ezcurdia & Robert J. Stainton (eds.), The Semantics-Pragmatics Boundary in Philosophy. Broadview Press. pp. 179.
The Myth of Semantic Presupposition.Steven E. Boer & William G. Lycan - 1976 - Indiana University Linguistics Club.
Deep Structure as Logical Form.Gilbert Harman - 1970 - Synthese 21 (3-4):275 - 297.

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Citations of this work BETA

Conversational Impliciture.Kent Bach - 1994 - Mind and Language 9 (2):124-162.
Knowledge Claims and Context: Loose Use.Wayne A. Davis - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 132 (3):395-438.
Ambiguity and Quantification.Ruth M. Kempson & Annabel Cormack - 1980 - Linguistics and Philosophy 4 (2):259 - 309.
Foundational Issues in Presupposition.Mandy Simons - 2006 - Philosophy Compass 1 (4):357–372.

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