What Tipper is Ready for: A Semantics for Incomplete Predicates
Version of Record online: 20 JAN 2011
© 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 46, Issue 1, pages 61–85, February 2012
How to Cite
Gauker, C. (2012), What Tipper is Ready for: A Semantics for Incomplete Predicates. Noûs, 46: 61–85. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0068.2010.00782.x
- Issue online: 28 FEB 2012
- Version of Record online: 20 JAN 2011
This paper presents a precise semantics for incomplete predicates such as “ready”. Incomplete predicates have distinctive logical properties that a semantic theory needs to accommodate. For instance, “Tipper is ready” logically implies “Tipper is ready for something”, but “Tipper is ready for something” does not imply “Tipper is ready”. It is shown that several approaches to the semantics of incomplete predicates fail to accommodate these logical properties. The account offered here defines contexts as structures containing an element called a proposition set, which contains atomic propositions and negations of atomic propositions. The condition under which “Tipper is ready” is true in a context is defined in terms of the contents of the proposition set for the context. On this account, the content of the context pertinent to a conversation must be determined not by what speakers have in mind but by relations of objective relevance.