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Copredication, quantification and individuation

Gotham, MGH; (2014) Copredication, quantification and individuation. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This thesis addresses the various problems of copredication: the phenomenon whereby two predicates are applied to a single argument, but they appear to require that their argument denote different things. For instance, in the sentence ‘The lunch was delicious but went on for hours’, the predicate ‘delicious’ appears to require that ‘the lunch’ denote food, while ‘went on’ appears to require that it denote an event. Copredication raises philosophical issues regarding the place of a reference relation in semantic theory. It also raises issues concerning the ascription of sortal requirements to predicates in framing a theory of semantic anomaly. Finally, many quantified copredication sentences have truth conditions that cannot be accounted for given standard assumptions, because the predicates used impose distinct criteria of individuation on the objects to which they apply. For instance, the sentence ‘Three books are heavy and informative’ cannot be true in a situation involving only a trilogy (informationally three books, but physically only one), nor in a situation involving only three copies of the same book (physically three books, but informationally only one): the three books involved must be both physically and informationally distinct. The central claims of this thesis are that nouns supporting copredication denote sets of complex objects, and that lexical entries incorporate information about their criteria of individuation, defined in terms of equivalence relations on subsets of the domain of discourse. Criteria of individuation are combined during semantic composition, then accessed and exploited by quantifiers in order to specify that the objects quantified over are distinct in defined ways. This novel approach is presented formally in Chapters 2 and 3, then compared with others in the literature in Chapter 4. In Chapter 5, the discussion is extended to the question of the implications of this approach for the form that a semantic theory should take.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Copredication, quantification and individuation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: copredication, quantification, individuation, semantics, externalism, internalism, anomaly
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1460158
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