Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.704006
Title: Topic-neutral expressions
Author: Jennings, Raymond Earl
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1967
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Abstract:
The point of this thesis is to try to make some sense of the fact that a list formed with "or" has different distributive properties in different contexts. The sentence(a) Mary is betrothed to Tom or Dick or Harry is equivalent to the disjunction of the results of attaching "Mary is betrothed to" to "Tom", "Dick" and "Harry". The sentence(b) Mary is more anxious to marry than Tom or Dick or Harry is equivalent to the conjunction of the results of attaching "Mary is more anxious to marry than" to "Tom", "Dick" and "Harry". The sentence(c) Mary wants to marry Tom or Dick or Harry does not imply either the conjunction or the disjunction of the results of attaching "Mary wants to marry" to "Tom", "Dick" and "Harry". In chapter two, in which conjunctively distributive "or" lists are discussed, I make the specific claim that the fact that in some contexts "or" lists are conjunctively distributive is related to the fact that3in some of these contexts, "and" lists are undistributive. The topic-neutral words "and" and "or, I claim, enable us to make more than one distinction. Implicit in this is the general claim that in order to understand the distinction between any pair of topic-neutral words, we must understand the distinctions that they enable us to make. When we examine the distinction between "any" and ''every", we find that the difference between the logical roles of these words parallels the difference between the logical roles of "or" and "and" - It follows that "any" and "every" enable us to make more than one distinction. Involved in the acceptance of the view that the distinction between "or" and "and" and the difference between "any" and "every" is different in different contexts is the rejection of the view implicit in Professor Geach's account of the "any/every" distinction according to which the 'meaning1 of a topic-neutral word can be given by a simple correlation between sentences containing that word and a single pro-positional form. The sentence in which "or" lists are undistributive are sentences in which the distinction made by "and" and "or" is a distinction between satisfiability-conditions. This fact enables us to understand why certain forms of practical inference are valid.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.704006  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Linguistics
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