Processes in the Interpretation of Generics and Cp-Laws
February 4, 2008
Ceteris Paribus (cp-)laws may be said to hold only 'other things equal', signaling that their truth is compatible with a range of exceptions. Several theorists have taken this feature to introduce the presumption that cp-laws are trivial, one that needs to be countered if we are to appeal to cp-laws in the course of scientific investigation or our philosophical theorizing about it. I argue that the triviality worry is misplaced by pointing out that cp-laws are just a subset of uncontroversially meaningful and contingent expressions of natural language, the generics. I then present an account of these generics that elucidates some of their most puzzling features, especially the ones that suggested the triviality worry in the first place.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 26
Keywords: cp-laws, generics, semantics, natural languageworking papers series
Date posted: February 6, 2008
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