Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language

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9780199608744: Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language

The common view in philosophy and linguistic semantics is that naturallanguage involves a great range of expressions that involve reference to abstract objects, such as properties, propositions, degrees, numbers,and expression types. This book argues that this view is mistaken: theontology of natural language at its core is particularist, involvingpervasive reference to various sorts of tropes (particularized properties) or trope-related entities, to pluralities (as many) of particulars, aswell as to 'variable objects'. In addition, expressions that appear to standfor abstract objects, the book argues, play in fact a nonreferential role. Only in the'periphery' of language, with 'reifying terms' such as the proposition that S, the fact that S, the property of being an N, the number eight, the word eight, and the truth value true, is reference to abstract objects possible.

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About the Author :


Friederike Moltmann is senior researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and visiting researcher at NYU. She had previously taught both linguistics and philosophy at various universities in the US and the UK. She has published numerous articles in both linguistic and philosophical journals and is author of Parts and Wholes in Semantic (OUP, 1997).

Review :

"The book is highly recommended to philosophers and linguists alike. Those interested in semantics, ontology, or descriptive metaphysics would benefit greatly from studying it." - Byeong-uk Yi, Mind
"This book is important for its hypotheses and conclusions, but even more so for its methodology: Moltmann's thorough and careful examination of linguistic (and crosslinguistic) data has raised so-called descriptive metaphysics, the analysis of the categories of being implicitly recognized by ordinary language and commonsense thought, to a new level."--John P Burgess, Princeton University


"In Moltmann's work, linguistic, metaphysical and more general philosophical insight and theory are expertly woven together in an exceptionally original and rewarding way. This book is essential reading for philosophers, linguists and cognitive scientists."--Mark Sainsbury, University of Austin at Texas


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Friederike Moltmann
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ISBN 10 : 0199608741 ISBN 13 : 9780199608744
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Description du livre Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2013. Hardback. État : New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Abstract objects have been a central topic in philosophy since antiquity. Philosophers have defended various views about abstract objects by appealing to metaphysical considerations, considerations regarding mathematics or science, and, not infrequently, intuitions about natural language. This book pursues the question of how and whether natural language allows for reference to abstract objects in a fully systematic way. By making full use of contemporary linguistic semantics, it presents a much greater range of linguistic generalizations than has previously been taken into consideration in philosophical discussions, and it argues for an ontological picture is very different from that generally taken for granted by philosophers and semanticists alike. Reference to abstract objects such as properties, numbers, propositions, and degrees is considerably more marginal than generally held. Instead, natural language is rather generous in allowing reference to particularized properties (tropes), the use of nonreferential expressions in apparent referential position, and the use of nominalizing expressions , such as quantifiers like something .Reference to abstract objects is achieved generally only by the use of reifying terms , such as the number eight . N° de réf. du libraire AOP9780199608744

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Description du livre Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2013. Hardback. État : New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Abstract objects have been a central topic in philosophy since antiquity. Philosophers have defended various views about abstract objects by appealing to metaphysical considerations, considerations regarding mathematics or science, and, not infrequently, intuitions about natural language. This book pursues the question of how and whether natural language allows for reference to abstract objects in a fully systematic way. By making full use of contemporary linguistic semantics, it presents a much greater range of linguistic generalizations than has previously been taken into consideration in philosophical discussions, and it argues for an ontological picture is very different from that generally taken for granted by philosophers and semanticists alike. Reference to abstract objects such as properties, numbers, propositions, and degrees is considerably more marginal than generally held. Instead, natural language is rather generous in allowing reference to particularized properties (tropes), the use of nonreferential expressions in apparent referential position, and the use of nominalizing expressions , such as quantifiers like something . Reference to abstract objects is achieved generally only by the use of reifying terms , such as the number eight . N° de réf. du libraire AOP9780199608744

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Description du livre Oxford University Press. Hardback. État : new. BRAND NEW, Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language, Friederike Moltmann, Abstract objects have been a central topic in philosophy since antiquity. Philosophers have defended various views about abstract objects by appealing to metaphysical considerations, considerations regarding mathematics or science, and, not infrequently, intuitions about natural language. This book pursues the question of how and whether natural language allows for reference to abstract objects in a fully systematic way. By making full use of contemporary linguistic semantics, it presents a much greater range of linguistic generalizations than has previously been taken into consideration in philosophical discussions, and it argues for an ontological picture is very different from that generally taken for granted by philosophers and semanticists alike. Reference to abstract objects such as properties, numbers, propositions, and degrees is considerably more marginal than generally held. Instead, natural language is rather generous in allowing reference to particularized properties (tropes), the use of nonreferential expressions in apparent referential position, and the use of 'nominalizing expressions', such as quantifiers like 'something'. Reference to abstract objects is achieved generally only by the use of 'reifying terms', such as 'the number eight'. N° de réf. du libraire B9780199608744

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