The Ways of Normality
January 1, 2008
I contrast two approaches to the interpretation of generics such as 'ravens are black': majority-based views, on which they are about what is the case most of the time, and inquiry-based views, on which they are about a feature we focus on in inquiry - an inductive target. I argue that while majority-based views are preferable based on the most basic data about generics, only inquiry-based views can account for a systematic class of sentences: generics with logically complex predicates, such as 'cats are black, white, and ginger'. Thus, inquiry-based views should carry the day. I then go on to sketch a theory of inductive targets.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 23
Keywords: generics, natural language, semantics, probabilityworking papers series
Date posted: February 12, 2008
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