For help on this paper I am most indebted to Alexander Hughes. I would additionally like to thank Amy Burke, Sam Cumming, Jerry Fodor, John Hawthorne, Ernie Lepore, Peter Ludlow, Ian Proops, Adam Sennet and Jason Stanley for their comments and suggetions. Thanks also to the Departments of Linguistics and Philosophy at Rutgers University for their support.
Context, Compositionality and Calamity
Article first published online: 30 OCT 2006
2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Mind & Language
Volume 21, Issue 5, pages 541–552, November 2006
How to Cite
RETT, J. (2006), Context, Compositionality and Calamity. Mind & Language, 21: 541–552. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0017.2006.00294.x
- Issue published online: 30 OCT 2006
- Article first published online: 30 OCT 2006
Abstract: This paper examines an attempt made in a series of articles (Stanley, 2002, et al.) to create a syntactic placeholder for contextual information. The initial shortcoming of Stanley’s proposal is that it does not easily integrate these placeholders with domain-restricting information syntactically encoded elsewhere in the utterance. Thus, Stanley makes erroneous predictions in the case of sentences in which quantifier-restricting information encoded in (for example) a prepositional phrase conflicts with quantifier-restriction valued by context is internally incoherent.
I explore the space of possible solutions that are available to Stanley, demonstrating how each results in its own interpretation problem and, ultimately, fails. In doing so, I argue that Stanley’s syntactic approach to contextual restriction is untenable.