Synthese (5-6):14383-14401 (2021)

This paper is about an underappreciated aspect of generics: their non-specificity. Many uses of generics, utterances like ‘Seagulls swoop down to steal food’, express non-specific generalisations which do not specify their quantificational force or flavour. I consider whether this non-specificity arises as a by-product of context-sensitivity or semantic incompleteness but argue instead that generics semantically express non-specific generalisations by default as a result of quantifying existentially over more specific ones.
Keywords Generics  Genericity  Non-specificity  Propositional pluralism  Context-sensitivity  Semantic incompleteness
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-021-03426-8
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Literal Meaning.François Recanati - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
Conversational Impliciture.Kent Bach - 1994 - Mind and Language 9 (2):124-162.
Generics: Cognition and Acquisition.Sarah-Jane Leslie - 2008 - Philosophical Review 117 (1):1-47.

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