Semantic values in higher-order semantics
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Recently, some philosophers have argued that we should take quantification of any (finite) order to be a legitimate and irreducible, sui generis kind of quantification. In particular, they hold that a semantic theory for higher-order quantification must itself be couched in higher-order terms. Øystein Linnebo has criticized such views on the grounds that they are committed to general claims about the semantic values of expressions that are by their own lights inexpressible. I show that Linnebo’s objection rests on the assumption of a notion of semantic value or contribution which both applies to expressions of any order, and picks out, for each expression, an extra-linguistic correlate of that expression. I go on to argue that higher-orderists can plausibly reject this assumption, by means of a hierarchy of notions they can use to describe the extra-lingustic correlates of expressions of different orders.
KeywordsHigher-order quantification Semantics Semantic values Inexpressibility Absolute generality
I am grateful for many very helpful discussions with and comments from John Divers, Robbie Williams, Joseph Melia, Benjamin Schnieder, Alex Steinberg, Robert Schwartzkopff, Nick Haverkamp, Mirja Holst, and Øystein Linnebo, as well as two anonymous referees for this journal.
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