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Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language,9780199608744
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Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language



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Oxford University Press
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This is the edition with a publication date of 5/19/2013.
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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."

Author Biography

Friederike Moltmann is senior researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris. 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).

Table of Contents

Reference to Universals
Reference to Tropes and the Ontology of Tropes
The Semantics of Special Quantifiers in Predicate Position
Propositions and Attitudinal Objects
Intensional Transitive Verbs and their Objects
Reifying Terms
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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