Philosophy Colloquium
Eliot Michaelson
Kings College London
Meaning Restrictions

Rarely do we utter 'every F' to talk about absolutely every F, or 'some G' to talk about any G whatsoever. But there's no commonly-accepted account of just how speakers manage to use such phrases to talk about more restricted classes of things. After considering and rejecting some earlier suggestions, I offer a novel account of this phenomenon. On my account, speakers bear a relationship of linguistic authority over quantified statements, such that they can use those statements to express certain kinds of thoughts. But there are limits to such authority: both a practical limit, since speakers' thoughts are typically only so precise, and normative limits, since one's linguistic community will only tolerate a limited range of thoughts being expressible via a particular quantified statement.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Key 0103