Viebahn (2018) has recently argued that several tests for ambiguity, such as the conjunction-reduction test, are not reliable as tests for polysemy, but only as tests for homonymy. I look at the more fine-grained distinction between regular and irregular polysemy and I argue for a more nuanced conclusion: the tests under discussion provide systematic evidence for homonymy and irregular polysemy but need to be used with more care to test for regular polysemy. I put this conclusion at work in the (...) context of the debate over the alleged referential-attributive ambiguity of the definite article. In reply to various criticisms, defenders of the ambiguity view argue that this is a case of polysemy. But opponents object that the dual use of the definite article fails tests for ambiguity. The debate seems to have come to stalemate, unless the relevance of the tests is determined for cases of alleged polysemy. I conclude that the balance of considerations incline towards rejecting the ambiguity thesis. (shrink)
In this paper I am concerned with the analysis of fragments of a discourse or text that express arguments suspected of being denials of the antecedent. I first argue that one needs to distinguish between two senses of ‘the argument expressed’. Second, I show that, with respect to one of these senses, given a Gricean account of the pragmatics of conditionals, some such fragments systematically express arguments that are valid.
In recent discussions concerning the definition of argument, it has been maintained that the word ‘argument’ exhibits the process-product ambiguity, or an act/object ambi-guity. Drawing on literature on lexical ambiguity we argue that ‘argument’ is not ambiguous. The term ‘argument’ refers to an object, not to a speech act. We also examine some of the important implications of our argument by considering the question: what sort of abstract objects are arguments?
In recent discussions concerning the definition of argument, it has been maintained that the word ‘argument’ exhibits the process-product ambiguity, or an act/object ambigu-ity. Drawing on literature on lexical ambiguity we argue that ‘argument’ is not ambiguous. The term ‘argu-ment’ refers to an object, not to a speech act. We also examine some of the important implications of our argument by considering the question: what sort of abstract objects are arguments?
Work on analogy has been done from a number of disciplinary perspectives throughout the history of Western thought. This work is a multidisciplinary guide to theorizing about analogy. It contains 1,406 references, primarily to journal articles and monographs, and primarily to English language material. classical through to contemporary sources are included. The work is classified into eight different sections (with a number of subsections). A brief introduction to each section is provided. Keywords and key expressions of importance to research on (...) analogy are discussed in the introductory material. Electronic resources for conducting research on analogy are listed as well. (shrink)
In the first part of this paper I make some general remarks about the relevance of semantics and pragmatics to argumentation theory, insisting on the importance of the reconstruction of speaker meaning for argument analysis, especially in the case of implicatures. In the second part of the paper I look more closely at the relation between argument and implicature. In the last part I discuss the concept of argumentative implicature, that is, implicatures that are generated by speech acts of arguing. (...) I maintain, against Jackson (1987), that there are no specifically argumentative implicatures. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss Hilary Putnam’s view of the conditions that need to be fulfilled for a speaker to successfully defer to a linguistic community for the meaning of a word she uses. In the first part of the paper I defend Putnam’s claim that knowledge of what he calls “stereotypes” is a requirement on linguistic competence. In the second part of the paper I look at two consequences that this thesis has. One of them concerns the choice between (...) two competing formulations of consumerist semantics. The other concerns the notion of deference, and in particular the question whether deference can be non-intentional. Although the standard view is that deference is intentional, it has also been argued (Stojanovic et al. 2005) that most common forms of deference are not. I argue that deference is best understood as intentional, given the possibility of failures of deference. Cases in which the requirement that the speaker know the stereotypes associated with a particular word is not fulfilled are examples of unsuccessful attempts to defer. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss two objections raised against von Fintel’s (1994) and Stanley and Szabó’s (2000a) hidden variable approach to quantifier domain restriction (QDR). One of them concerns utterances of sentences involving quantifiers for which no contextual domain restriction is needed, and the other concerns multiple quantified contexts. I look at various ways in which the approaches could be amended to avoid these problems, and I argue that they fail. I conclude that we need a more flexible account of (...) QDR, one that allows for the hidden variables in the LF responsible for QDR to vary in number. Recanati’s (2002; 2004) approach to QDR, which makes use of the apparatus of “variadic functions”, is flexible enough to account successfully for the two phenomena discussed. I end with a few comments on what I take to be the most promising way to construe variadic functions. (shrink)
A tacit assumption in the literature devoted to singular thought is that singular thought constitutes a unitary phenomenon, and so a correct account of it must encompass all instances. In this essay, I argue against such a unitary account. The superficial feature of singularity might result from ver y different deep-level phenomena. Following Taylor (2010) and Crane (2013), I distinguish between the referential fitness and the referential success of a thought. I argue that facts responsible for referential fitness (e.g., mental (...) files or individual concepts), as well as facts responsible for referential success (e.g., acquaintance conditions on referential success), are relevant in explaining the data pertaining to a theory of singular thought. What makes this approach particularly attractive is that there are good independent reasons to introduce both kinds of facts in theorizing about thought. (shrink)
Arguments against the Russellian theory of definite descriptions based on cases that involve failures of uniqueness are a recurrent theme in the relevant literature. In this paper, I discuss a number of such arguments, from Strawson (1950), Ramachandran (1993) and Szabo (2005). I argue that the Russellian has resources to account for these data by deploying a variety of mechanisms of quantifier domain restrictions. Finally, I present a case that is more problematic for the Russellian. While the previous cases all (...) involve referential uses of descriptions (or some variations of such uses), the most effective objection to the uniqueness condition draws on genuine attributive uses. (shrink)
In the first part of this paper I consider the Gricean account of communication, as structured by the Cooperative Principle and the four maxims. Several authors, including Jean Goodwin , Fred Kauffeld , Michael Gilbert , Ernie Lepore and Mathew Stone , among others, argue that the Gricean view of communication fails in as much as it pretends to offer an account of all such human interactions. As Goodwin and Kauffeld suggest, a more promising starting point is to consider the (...) variety of contextually determined presumptions that we make about speakers and that we rely upon in interpreting utterances. These presumptions are established in various ways, and are dropped, or defeated, in certain conditions. In order to clarify these aspects we need to inquiry into the nature of presumptions. I argue that Kauffeld’s , ,  account of presumptions is useful in this context. In the second part of the paper I look at what this account tells us about how, and in what conditions, presumptions in communication are rebutted. (shrink)
In this article I focus on the argument that Jeff Speaks develops in Speaks (2008). There, Speaks distinguishes between uses of language in conversation and uses of language in thought. Speaks’s argument is that a phenomenon that appears both when using language in communication and when using language in thought cannot be explained in Gricean conversational terms. A Gricean account of implicature involves having very complicated beliefs about the audience, which turn out to be extremely bizarre if the speaker is (...) her own and only audience. Therefore, it is extremely implausible that we implicate anything when using language in thought. So, an episode of using language in thought needs to be explained in some other way. This article is an attempt to clarify the notion of a use of language in thought, and ultimately to argue that there are no uses of language that satisfy all the conditions that are needed for Speaks’s argument to work. (shrink)
In this paper I focus on the fallacy known as Complex Question or Many Questions. After a brief introduction, in Sect. 2 I highlight its pragmatic dimension, and in Sect. 3 its dialectical dimension. In Sect. 4 I present two accounts of this fallacy developed in argumentation theory, Douglas Walton’s and the Pragma-Dialectics’, which have resources to capture both its pragmatic and its dialectical nature. However, these accounts are unsatisfactory for various reasons. In Sect. 5 I focus on the pragmatic (...) dimension of the fallacy and I suggest amendments to the accounts mentioned drawing on the study of the phenomenon of presupposition in theoretical pragmatics. I argue that the central notion in the definition of the fallacy is that of an informative presupposition. In Sect. 6 I focus on the dialectical dimension of the fallacy. This dimension needs to be explicitly acknowledged in the definition of the fallacy in order to distinguish it from a different, non-dialectical, fallacious argumentative move involving presuppositions. (shrink)
One challenge that the proponent of the Fregean theory of definite descriptions has to meet is to account for those truth-value intuitions that do not match the predictions of her theory. What needs an explanation is why sentences such as ‘The king of France is sitting in that chair’ [pointing at an empty chair] are intuitively false, while semantically truth-valueless. The existence of such cases was pointed out by Strawson :216–231, 1954) and Russell :385–389, 1957), and much discussed in the (...) subsequent literature. The standard pragmatic explanation that Fregeans have proposed :113–122, 1993; von Fintel, Descriptions and beyond, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004; Elbourne, Definite descriptions, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2013) invokes an epistemic strategy of verification of the utterance of the sentence. I raise three objections to this strategy, two concerning its descriptive adequacy, and one concerning the motivation offered for the approach. Finally, I propose an alternative account that relies on an inferential pattern that leads to the relevant truth-value judgements in certain contextually specified conditions. (shrink)
This paper focuses on what is known in the literature on the semantics and pragmatics of definite descriptions as “the argument from convention”. This argument purports to show that referential uses of definite descriptions are a semantic phenomenon. A key premise of the argument is that none of the pragmatic alternatives (any one of a variety of Gricean accounts of referential uses) is successful. I argue that no good reason is offered to support this claim. I conclude that the argument (...) from convention fails to be compelling. (shrink)
I argue that an affirmative answer to the question whether entailments could figure as contents of CI is warranted. In particular, the two features of CI that could rule out entailments from the class of contents that could be conversationally implicated are cancellability and non-conventionality. Entailments are non-cancellable, but this is a reason to conclude that they cannot be CIs only if cancellability is a universal property of CIs; alternatively, one might accept CIs that are entailed by what is said (...) and, on this basis, reject the claim that all CIs are cancellable. I see no compelling reason to go one way or another. So, this criterion does not lead to a principled answer to our question. Turning to non-conventionality, this is a defining feature of CIs, according to Grice. I explore the reasons given in the literature for taking non-conventionality to be a defining feature of CI, and argued that none of them are compelling: lexicalization of dead metaphors does not lead to overgeneration of CIs, and calculability is sufficient to distinguish conventional from conversational implicatures. I propose a definition of CI in terms of calculability alone, which does not rule out entailments. So, the answer to our initial question is, eventually, a tentative ‘yes’. A notable consequence of this definition is that the argument against the cancellability test based on cases of CIs the content of which is entailed by what is said seems a good one after all. This means that CIs are not necessarily cancellable. However, that does not mean that the test is a bad one, inasmuch as non-entailed CIs are still expected to be cancellable. (shrink)
The main purpose of this essay is critical. I focus on Robin Jeshion’s (2002; 2004; 2010) theory of singular thought, and I offer three objections to her Significance Condition for the creation of mental files. First of all, this condition makes incorrect predictions concerning singular thoughts about insignificant objects. Second, it conflicts with a theoretical aim mental file theories usually have, that of accounting for our ability to track discourse referents. And third, it appeals to a vague notion where a (...) clear-cut notion is needed. In the final section, I suggest that there are more plausible alternatives to the Significance Condition that the mental file theorist could appeal to, and which do not face the problems mentioned. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss appeals to nature, a particular kind of argument that has received little attention in argumentation theory. After a quick review of the existing literature, I focus on the use of such arguments in the public controversy over the acceptabil-ity of genetically-modified organisms in the food industry. Those who reject this biotechnology invoke its unnatural character. Such arguments have re-ceived attention in bioethics, where they have been analyzed by distinguishing different meanings that “nature” and “natural” might (...) have. I argue that in many such appeals to nature the main deficiency of these arguments is semantic, in particular, that these words cannot be assigned a determi-nate meaning at all. In doing so, I rely on semantic externalism, a widely accepted theory of linguistic meaning. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to discuss two phenomena related to the semantics of definite descriptions: that of incomplete uses of descriptions, and that of the underdetermination of referential uses of descriptions. The Russellian theorist has a way of accounting for incomplete uses of descriptions by appealing to an account of quantifier domain restriction, such as the one proposed in Stanley and Szabó (2000a). But, I argue, the Russellian is not the only one in a position to appeal to (...) such an account of incomplete uses of descriptions. Proponents of other theories, such as the Fregean, which does not treat descriptions as quantifiers, might benefit from this account of domain restriction. In the second part of the paper I discuss referential uses of incomplete definite descriptions. Relative to such uses, Wettstein (1981) and others have argued that the Russellian theory faces a problem of underdetermination of semantic content. Neale (2004) has replied to this objection showing why it does not pose a threat to the Russellian theory. Again, I argue that not only the Russellian, but also the Fregean can subscribe to Neale’s (2004) suggestion. (shrink)
Este libro es un compendio de diversos artículos del ámbito de la Lógica que cubren un amplio abanico de temas ofreciendo una panorámica sobre esta disciplina. Encontraremos artículos sobre aspectos históricos y sobe el desarrollo de la lógica en la filosofía, la informática y las matemáticas actuales; otros sobre cuestiones de metalógica, y otros sobre diferentes tipos de lógicas: intuicionista, híbridas e intensionales, y sus lenguajes, semánticas y aplicaciones. El resultado en su conjunto es, además, una reflexión sobre el papel (...) de la Lógica en el pasado, presente y futuro de la ciencia y el pensamiento. Pero este libro quiere ser, sobre todo, un homenaje a una de las lógicas más reconocidas de España, María Manzano, que con su actividad académica ha contribuido de forma fundamental al desarrollo del área de Lógica y Filosofía de la Ciencia en España, a la vez que es apreciada en la gran comunidad internacional de lógicos. Con la excusa de su jubilación como catedrática de la Universidad de Salamanca, veintitrés autores que han compartido con ella aventuras en el mundo de la Lógica se han reunido para contarle (y contarnos) algunas de esas apasionantes aventuras. (shrink)
What is it for an utterance of an expression to lack meaning? In this paper I address the issue along the lines of Carnap’s seminal article “Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology”. Carnap provides there an answer to the above question, which he then uses to argue that certain claims of metaphysics are meaningless. In the first section of the paper I present Carnap’s argument for the meaninglessness of certain metaphysical claims. In the second section I argue that, although the argument is (...) not compelling, the main virtue of Carnap’s proposal is the strategy he develops for generating meaningless uses of language. In the third section I propose an externalist criterion of meaningless uses of expressions that relies on semantic externalist considerations. This, I argue, bears significant resemblances to Carnap’s proposal. In the last section I discuss the applicability of the new criterion to the question concerning the meaning of metaphysical claims. (shrink)
It has been argued that a fragment of discourse that constitutes a fallacy of denying the antecedent at the level of what is literally said may not be a fallacy at the level of speaker meaning. The pragmatic phenomenon involved here is known as conditional perfection. I argue that the account of conditional perfection in van der Auwera and Horn has several problems, and I discuss several possible alternatives.