On the Nature of Reverse Compositionality

Erkenntnis 64 (1):37-60 (2006)
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Abstract

Reverse Compositionality (RC) is the thesis that one understands a complex expression only if one understands its parts. I argue that this thesis is false for natural languages. I then argue that the phenomenon that motivates the thesis is more likely to be a fact about human sentence-processing than linguistic understanding per se. Finally, I argue that RC is not useful in the debates about prototype-style theories of concepts in which it figures heavily.

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Kent Johnson
Last affiliation: University of California, Irvine

Citations of this work

Compositionality.Zoltán Gendler Szabó - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Composition of Thoughts.Richard Heck & Robert May - 2010 - Noûs 45 (1):126-166.
On Compositionality.Martin Jönsson - 2008 - Dissertation, Lund University
How to use a concept you reject.Mark McCullagh - 2011 - Philosophical Quarterly 61 (243):293-319.
Concept empiricism, content, and compositionality.Collin Rice - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (3):567-583.

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