Advertisement

Synthese

, Volume 193, Issue 1, pp 185–203 | Cite as

Does vagueness underlie the mass/count distinction?

  • David Liebesman
Article

Abstract

Does vagueness underlie the mass/count distinction? My answer is no. I motivate this answer in two ways. First, I argue against Chierchia’s (Synthese 174:99–149, 2010) recent attempt to explain the distinction in terms of vagueness. Second, I give a more general argument that no such account will succeed.

Keywords

Vagueness Mass/count Philosophy of language Semantics 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Thanks to Jared Henderson and three referees for Synthese.

References

  1. Barwise, J., & Cooper, R. (1981). Generalized quantifiers and natural language. Linguistics and Philosophy, 4(2), 159–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Burge, T. (1972). Truth and mass terms. The Journal of Philosophy, 64(1), 263–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Carlson, G. (1977). A unified analysis of the english bare plural. Linguistics and Philosophy, 1(3), 413–457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chierchia, G. (1998). Plurality of mass nouns and the notion of semantic parameter. In S. Rothstein (Ed.), Events and grammar (pp. 53–103). Dordrecht: Kluwer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chierchia, G. (1998). Reference to kinds across language. Natural Language Semantics, 6(4), 339–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chierchia, G. (2010). Mass nouns. Vagueness and semantic variation. Synthese, 174(1), 99–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fox, D., & Hackl, M. (2006). The universal density of measurement. Linguistics and Philosophy, 29(5), 537–586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hodes, H. (1984). Logicism and the ontological commitments of arithmetic. The Journal of Philosophy, 123–149.Google Scholar
  9. Hofweber, T. (2005). Number determiners, numbers, and arithmetic. The Philosophical Review, 179–225.Google Scholar
  10. Ionin, T., & Matushansky, O. (2006). The composition of complex cardinals. Journal of Semantics, 23(4), 315–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kennedy, C. (2013). A scalar semantics for scalar readings of number words. In I. Caponigro & C. Cecchetto (Eds.), From grammar to meaning: The spontaneous logicality of language. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Koslicki, K. (1999). The semantics of mass-predicates. Noûs, 33(1), 46–91.Google Scholar
  13. Landman, F. (2000). Events and plurality. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lewis, D. (1993). Many, but almost one. In K. Cambell, J. Bacon, & L. Reinhardt (Eds.), Ontology, causality, and mind (pp. 23–38). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Liebesman, D. (2015). We do not count by identity. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 93(1), 123–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Link, G. (1983). The logical analysis of plurals and mass terms. In C. S. R. Bauerle & A. von Stechow (Eds.), Meaning, use, and the interpretation of language (pp. 302–323). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  17. Markosian, N. (1998). Brutal composition. Philosophical Studies, 92(3), 211–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. McGee, V. (1997). Kilimanjaro. Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 27(sup1), 141–163.Google Scholar
  19. McGee, V., & McLaughlin, B. (2000). The lessons of the many. PhilosophicalTopics, 28(1), 129–151.Google Scholar
  20. McKay, T. (2006). Plural predication. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Parsons, T. (1979). An analysis of mass terms and amount terms. In F. J. Pelletier (Ed.), Mass terms: Some philosophical problems (pp. 137–166). Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  22. Pelletier, F., & Schubert, L. (1989). Mass expressions. In Handbook of philosophical logic, 4, 327–407.Google Scholar
  23. Rothstein, S. (2010). Counting and the mass/count distinction. Journal of Semantics, 27(3), 343–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Salmon, N. (1997). Wholes, parts, and numbers. In J. E. Tomberlin (Ed.), Philosophical Perspectives 11: Mind, Causation, and World. Ridgeview, 1–15.Google Scholar
  25. Unger, P. (1980). The problem of the many. Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 5(1), 411–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Weatherson, B. (2009). The problem of the many. The stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. The Metaphysics Research Lab: Stanford University.Google Scholar
  27. Weatherson, B. (2010). Vagueness as indeterminacy. In R. Dietz & S. Moruzzi (Eds.), Cuts and clouds: Vagueness, its nature, and its logic. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

Personalised recommendations