This study examines whether Chinese complement coercion sentences with aspectual verbs will elicit processing difficulty during real-time comprehension. Complement coercion is a linguistic phenomenon in which certain verbs, requiring an event-denoting complement, are combined with an entity-denoting complement, as in The author started a book. Previous studies have reported that the entity-denoting complement elicited processing difficulty following verbs that require event argument compared with verbs that do not. While the processing of complement coercion has been extensively studied in Indo-European languages (...) such as English and German, it is relatively under-researched in Sino-Tibetan languages such as Mandarin Chinese. Given the fact that there are many linguistic elements behaving distinctly in the different language families, for instance, verbs with respect to their semantic properties and syntactic representations of the complement, it is meaningful to investigate whether or not the existing linguistic differences have any effect on the processing of complement coercion in Mandarin. With this research goal, we recorded self-paced reading time of 61 native Mandarin speakers to investigate the processing of the entity-denoting complement in sentences with three different verb types, as exemplified in 顾客开始/填写/查看这份问卷 gù-kè kāi-shǐ/tián-xiě/chá-kàn zhè-fèn wèn-juàn “The customer started/filled in/checked the questionnaire.” It was found that the entity noun complement elicited significantly longer reading times in coercion sentences than non-coercion counterparts. The results are compatible with the previous findings in English that complement coercion sentences impose processing cost during real-time comprehension. The study contributes empirical evidence to coercion studies cross-linguistically. (shrink)
A dilemma put forward by Schein (1993) and Rayo (2002) suggests that, in order to characterize the semantics of plurals, we should not use predicate logic, but non-singular logic, a formal language whose terms may refer to several things at once. We show that a similar dilemma applies to mass nouns. If we use predicate logic and sets, we arrive at a Russellian paradox when characterizing the semantics of mass nouns. Likewise, a semantics of mass nouns based upon predicate logic (...) and mereological sums is too weak, since it cannot characterize the “intermediary” construals that sentences containing mass nouns may receive. We then develop an account where mass nouns are treated as non-singular terms, which may refer to several things at once. This semantics is faithful to the intuition that, if there are eight pieces of silverware on a table, the speaker refers to eight things at once when he says: “The silverware that is on the table comes from Italy”. We show that this account provides a satisfactory semantics for a wide range of sentences, including cases often seen as difficult, like “The gold on the table weighs seven ounces” (Bunt 1985) and “All phosphorus is either red or black” (Roeper 1983). (shrink)
This paper critically compares the philosophy of Günther Anders and the contemporary transhumanists, like Julian Savulescu, Ingmar Persson, or Thomas Douglas. The Andersian concepts of moral blindness, promethean gap, and promethean shame will be discussed in order to understand human beings’ outdatedness; parallel to this, we will also expose the transhumanist analysis on the unfitness of human beings in evolutive and cognitive terms. We will show that much of the transhumanist analysis is a reformulation of the Andersian thesis, now under (...) scientific terminology. Finally, we will approach the transhumanist proposal of moral enhancement, explaining and confronting some critics raised on the grounds of freedom and moral responsibility. (shrink)
The mass/count distinction attracts a lot of attention among cognitive scientists, possibly because it involves in fundamental ways the relation between language (i.e. grammar), thought (i.e. extralinguistic conceptual systems) and reality (i.e. the physical world). In the present paper, I explore the view that the mass/count distinction is a matter of vagueness. While every noun/concept may in a sense be vague, mass nouns/concepts are vague in a way that systematically impairs their use in counting. This idea has never been systematically (...) pursued, to the best of my knowledge. I make it precise relying on supervaluations (more specifically, ‘data semantics’) to model it. I identify a number of universals pertaining to how the mass/count contrast is encoded in the languages of the world, along with some of the major dimensions along which languages may vary on this score. I argue that the vagueness based model developed here provides a useful perspective on both. The outcome (besides shedding light on semantic variation) seems to suggest that vagueness is not just an interface phenomenon that arises in the interaction of Universal Grammar (UG) with the Conceptual/Intentional System (to adopt Chomsky’s terminology), but it is actually part of the architecture of UG. (shrink)
A semantic analysis of mass nouns is given in terms of a logic of classes as many. In previous work it was shown that plural reference and predication for count nouns can be interpreted within this logic of classes as many in terms of the subclasses of the classes that are the extensions of those count nouns. A brief review of that account of plurals is given here and it is then shown how the same kind of interpretation can also (...) be given for mass nouns. (shrink)
This chapter makes the following main claims about Hungarian: A. There is a detailed parallelism between the structures of noun phrases (DPs) and clauses (CPs), involving inflection, possessor extraction, and articles as complementizers. B. "HAVE sentences" are existential sentences involving possessor extraction. C. The argument frame of complex event nominals is identical to that of the underlying verb. D. The deverbal affix in nominals may have either a plain verb or a complex verb in its scope.
This paper documents the number-related properties of Dëne Sųłiné (Athapaskan). Dëne Sųłiné has neither number inflection nor numeral classifiers. Nouns are bare, occur as such in argument positions, and combine directly with numerals. With these traits, Dëne Sųłiné represents a type of language that is little considered in formal typologies of number and countability. The paper critiques one influential proposal, that of Chierchia (in: Rothstein (ed.) Events and grammar, 1998a; Natural Language Semantics 6: 339–405, 1998b), and presents an alternative number (...) typology, which introduces variation in the semantics of numerals. It will be shown that bare nouns in Dëne Sųłiné can be mass or count. Hence, the difference between count and mass cannot be expressed in terms of number, as in Chierchia. Instead, I express it in terms of atomicity. Mass nouns have nonatomic denotations, bare count nouns have atomic denotations that comprise singularities and pluralities. I also propose that numerals contain a function that accesses the singularities in a noun’s denotation. Hence they are compatible with bare count nouns, but not with mass nouns. In classifier languages, numerals denote a cardinality only; singularity-accessing functions are expressed in separate elements: the classifiers. Thus, languages like Chinese require classifiers because the numerals are semantically deficient, and not, as is assumed by Chierchia and others, the bare nouns. (shrink)
I argue that common nouns should be analyzed as variables, rather than as predicates which take variables as arguments. This necessitates several unusual features to the analysis, such as allowing variables to be modally non-rigid, and assigning their values compositionally. However, treating common nouns as variables offers a variety of theoretical and empirical advantages over a more traditional analysis: It predicts the conservativity of nominal quantification, simplifies the analysis of articleless languages, derives the weak reading of sentences with donkey anaphora, (...) solves the proportion problem presented by quantifiers like ‘most’, improves the analysis of the temperature paradox, allows a more unified analysis of bare plurals, and regularizes the correspondence between syntactic categories and semantic types. (shrink)
DISSERTAÇÃO DE MESTRADO MATTOS, Solange Missagia. Imaginário religioso: o simbolismo do herói à luz de Joseph Campbell e Carl Gustav Jung. 2011. 115 folhas. Dissertação (Mestrado) – Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais, Programa de Pós-graduação em Ciências da Religião, Belo Horizonte.
Common nouns and noun phrases have usually been analyzed semantically as predicates. In quantified sentences, these predicates take variables as arguments. This paper develops and defends an analysis in which common nouns and noun phrases themselves are treated as variables, rather than as predicates taking variables as arguments. Several apparent challenges for this view will be addressed, including the modal non-rigidity of common nouns. Two major advantages to treating common nouns as variables will be presented: Such an analysis predicts that (...) all nominal quantification is conservative, rather than requiring conservativity to be stipulated as a constraint on determiner denotations; and it makes possible some improvements to the analysis of the temperature paradox, allowing for quantificational examples without adding a spurious layer of modal variability. (shrink)
In English, some common nouns, like 'dog', can combine with determiners like 'a' and 'many', but not with 'much', while other nouns, like 'water', can be used together with 'much', but not with 'a' and 'many'. These common nouns have been respectively called count nouns (CNs) and mass nouns (MNs). How do children learn to use CNs and MNs in the appropriate contexts? Gaining a better understanding of this is the goal of this paper. To do so, it is important (...) to first get clear on the nature of the distinction between CNs and MNs. Is it a grammatical distinction? Does the distinction apply to nouns, to their senses, or only to their occurrences within noun phrases (NPs)? Showing that the count-mass distinction really is grammatical and applies to nouns is the matter of my first part. Then the question occurs as to whether the distinction corresponds to a systematic difference in the sense of count and mass expressions. If it does, children's acquisition of the distinction may simply follow from their ability to learn the senses of these expressions and determiners. In a second part, I thus discuss various semantic characterizations that have been proposed, and make explicit the exceptions from which they suffer. Now, understanding the sense of an expression is interpreting it correctly as it occurs in an utterance. Formal characterizations of our interpretations help to clarify what is involved in learning and understanding these expressions. In my third part, I examine several formal characterizations with the purpose to specify what would be an adequate representation of the interpretations of mass and count nominal expressions. The understanding gained in these first three parts is used to identify what abilities are exercised by children when they acquire the count-mass distinction. The picture that emerges differs from earlier views of the acquisition in several respects. I thus describe these views and highlight the differences between them and my own proposal. In a final, fifth part, I critically examine the experimental evidence that proponents of some of the accounts of the acquisition of the count-mass distinction have cited in their favor. (shrink)
The theory of Generalized Quantifiers has facilitated progress in the study of negation in natural language. In particular it has permitted the formulation of a DeMorgan taxonomy of logical strength of negative Noun Phrases (Zwarts 1996a,b). It has permitted the formulation of broad semantical generalizations to explain grammatical phenomena, e.g. the distribution of Negative Polarity Items (Ladusaw 1980; Linebarger 1981, 1987, 1991; Hoeksema 1986, 1995; Zwarts 1996a,b; Horn 1992, 1996b). In the midst of this theorizing Jaap Hoepelman invited me to (...) lecture in Stuttgart about Focus, and I took the opportunity to talk about a seminal paper on ‘only Proper Name’ and ‘even Proper Name’ by Larry Horn (1969), a paper that I had admired but that had nagged at me for years. The result of Hoepelman‘s invitation was Atlas (1991, 1993), in which I believed that I had discerned difficulties for the formal semantics of Negative Polarity Item sentences, ‘only Proper Name’ sentences licensed Zwarts’s “weak” Negative Polarity Items, e.g. ‘ever’, ‘any’, but ‘only Proper Name’ was not a downwards monotonic quantifier, thus refusing the broad semantical generalization that any NPI licenser was a downward monotonic quantifier. In fact ‘only Proper Name’ was the first of a new category of generalized quantifier: the pseudo-anti-additive quantifier. Though I have explained and defended the introduction of this new category in this paper, a particular interest of my analysis is that it opens up the theory of Negative Polarity Items for further development; it permits the formulation of entirely new questions for research (see ‘Open Questions’, Appendix 1). Along the way I was also trying to present a correct account of the formal semantics and implicatures of ‘Only a is F’, a subject of theoretical investigation for the last 700 years, but without, in my view, any theory ever arriving at the truth. There had to be something wrong with our theoretical methods or theoretical bias towards the data. So I (Atlas 1991, 1993) have tried to break out of this logjam by introducing new constraints on the acceptability of logical forms (first introduced in Atlas & Levinson 1981 for the analysis of clefts, and in Atlas 1988 for the analysis of negative existence statements). The earlier theories ignored conversational implicatures entirely; it seemed of theoretical interest to examine statements containing focal particles like ‘Only’ for their implicatures, especially as the correct prediction of implicatures tells one something about the truth-conditions and logical form of the statement itself (Atlas 1991, 1993). In this paper I review and modify my earlier theory of the logical form, semantical properties, and pragmatic properties of ‘Only a is F‘. I also provide the correct generalization to the case of ‘Only G is F‘. And I respond to the criticisms in Horn (1992, 1996b). (shrink)
Este trabalho examina a questão do olhar na obra de arte a partir da fenomenologia. Investiga, a princípio, os pressupostos que, desde Platão, tornaram a imagem um elemento filosófico por excelência. A abordagem se separa da filosofia platônica e da noção de olhar como epistême e leva a discussão para o âmbito da fenomenologia de Merleau-Ponty, que pensa e compreende a realidade pelo olhar num duplo significado, que vê a si mesmo e também é visto por ele. A obra de (...) arte, nesse âmbito, não é apenas um objeto que revela algo a ser contemplado, mas entrevê e cria o próprio mundo no qual o homem ganha sentido. O artigo se divide em três tópicos: o primeiro trata brevemente da importância do olhar na mitologia grega; o segundo, expõe a concepção clássica do olhar na filosofia e o terceiro, discute a possibilidade de um olhar fenomenológico evocado pela arte. (shrink)
In this paper I propose and formalize a theory of the mass-count distinction in which the denotations of count nouns are built from non-overlapping generators, while the denotations of mass nouns are built from overlapping generators. Counting is counting of generators, and it will follow that counting is only correct on count denotations.I will show that the theory allows two kinds of mass nouns: mess mass nouns with denotations built from overlapping minimal generators, and neat mass nouns with denotations built (...) from overlapping generators, where the overlap is not located in the minimal generators. Prototypical mass nouns like meat and mud are of the first kind. I will argue that mass nouns like furniture and kitchenware are of the second type.I will discuss several phenomena—all involving one way or the other explicitly or implicitly individual classifiers like stuks in Dutch—that show that both distinctions mass/count and mess/neat are linguistically robust. I will show in particular that nouns like kitchenware pattern in various ways like count nouns, and not like mess mass nouns, and that these ways naturally involve the neat structure of their denotation. I will also show that they are real mass nouns: they can involve measures in the way mess mass nouns can and count nouns cannot.I will discuss grinding interpretations of count nouns, here rebaptized fission interpretations, and argue that these interpretations differ in crucial ways from the interpretations of lexical mass nouns. The paper will end with a foundational problem raised by fission interpretations, and in the course of this, atomless interpretation domains will re-enter the scene through the back door. (shrink)
This article discusses the experience of an Icelandic woman with intellectual disabilities who was sterilized and how she has dealt with it. It also reflects on some ethical and methodological issues that arise during inclusive life history research. The article is based on cooperation between two women, Eygló Ebba Hreinsdóttir, who was labelled with intellectual disabilities when she moved to an institution in Iceland in the 1970s, and the researcher Gu?rún V. Stefánsdóttir. Since 2003 we have worked closely together on (...) an inclusive life history project. The article is based on a recorded conversation between Ebba and Gudrun and the work of the Icelandic women's history group in which both participated for three years. Ebba was sterilized when she was 14 years old but didn't know about the sterilization until she was 27. The article describes the deep emotional impact and how she came to terms with it. (shrink)
In developing resemblance nominalism, Rodriguez-Pereyra attempts to meet the challenge that truths involving abstract nouns pose to the doctrine. He holds that one can render sentences containing abstract nouns without invoking attributes and defends this view by giving nominalistic sentences that express the truthmakers of two such sentences: ‘Scarlet is a colour’ and ‘Carmine resembles vermillion more than it resembles French blue.’ This article argues that his renderings have serious problems and fall far short of meeting the challenge posed by (...) truths involving abstract nouns. (shrink)
Reprise questions are a common dialogue device allowing a conversational participant to request clarification of the meaning intended by a speaker when uttering a word or phrase. As such they can act as semantic probes, providing us with information about what meaning can be associated with word and phrase types and thus helping to sharpen the principle of compositionality. This paper discusses the evidence provided by reprise questions concerning the meaning of nouns, noun phrases and determiners. Our central claim is (...) that reprise questions strongly suggest that quantified noun phrases denote (situation‐dependent) individuals—or sets of individuals—rather than sets of sets, or properties of properties. We outline a resulting analysis within the HPSG framework, and discuss its extension to such phenomena as quantifier scope, anaphora and monotone decreasing quantifiers. (shrink)
This dissertation is an experiment: what happens if we treat proper names as anaphoric expressions on a par with pronouns? The first thing to notice is that a name's `antecedent' can occur in a discourse prior to the one containing the name. An individual may be introduced and tagged with a name in one context, and then retrieved using the name in a later context. To allow for discourse-crossing anaphora, in addition to the usual cross-sentential anaphora, a revision of discourse (...) semantics is in order. Essentially, we must countenance discourse referents that span contexts, and think of contexts, not as islands, but as nodes connected to each other by the discourse referents they share. Discourse semantics gives rise to a new notion of content determined by discourse reference rather than pure reference. In a space of contexts structured by shared discourse referents, discourse content becomes transmissable. For a piece of content may be sent from one context to another whenever the discourse referents bundled up in the content are held in common by the two contexts. The final step is to treat the cognitive state of an agent as just another kind of context, and so a potential recipient of discourse content. Discourse content is more fine-grained than traditional `singular' content, and so is a better fit for our pretheoretic intuitions about communication and attitude reporting. This is illustrated by applying the theory to Frege's puzzle, a puzzle of Loar's about communication, Kripke's puzzle about belief, Geach's intentional identity and new breed of `mixed' de re-de dicto sentence. (shrink)
As the rising costs of lifestyle-related diseases place increasing strain on public healthcare systems, the individual’s role in disease may be proposed as a healthcare rationing criterion. Literature thus far has largely focused on retrospective responsibility in healthcare. The concept of prospective responsibility, in the form of a lifestyle contract, warrants further investigation. The responsibilisation in healthcare debate also needs to take into account innovative developments in mobile health technology, such as wearable biometric devices and mobile apps, which may change (...) how we hold others accountable for their lifestyles. Little is known about public attitudes towards lifestyle contracts and the use of mobile health technology to hold people responsible in the context of healthcare. This paper has two components. Firstly, it details empirical findings from a survey of 81 members of the United Kingdom general public on public attitudes towards individual responsibility and rationing healthcare, prospective and retrospective responsibility, and the acceptability of lifestyle contracts in the context of mobile health technology. Secondly, we draw on the empirical findings and propose a model of prospective intention-based lifestyle contracts, which is both more aligned with public intuitions and less ethically objectionable than more traditional, retrospective models of responsibility in healthcare. (shrink)
I present a high-level account of the semantical distinction between count nouns and non-count nouns. The basic idea is that count nouns are semantically either singular or plural and non-count nouns are neither.