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On Aristotle and Baldness : Topic, Reference, Presupposition of Existence, and Negation

Brandtler, Johan LU (2006) In Working Papers in Scandinavian Syntax
Abstract
This paper is a contribution to the never settled debate on reference, negation and presupposition of existence in the linguistic/philosophical literature. Based on Swedish and English data, the discussion is an attempt to present a unified account of the opposing views put forward in the works of Aristotle, Frege (1892), Russell (1905) and Strawson (1950). The starting point is the observed asymmetry in Swedish (and English) that negation may precede a quantified subject NP in the first position, but not a definite subject NP or a proper name. This asymmetry is argued to be due to semantic, rather than syntactic, restrictions. In the model proposed here, negating a topic NP affects the “topic selection”. This is allowed with quantified... (More)
This paper is a contribution to the never settled debate on reference, negation and presupposition of existence in the linguistic/philosophical literature. Based on Swedish and English data, the discussion is an attempt to present a unified account of the opposing views put forward in the works of Aristotle, Frege (1892), Russell (1905) and Strawson (1950). The starting point is the observed asymmetry in Swedish (and English) that negation may precede a quantified subject NP in the first position, but not a definite subject NP or a proper name. This asymmetry is argued to be due to semantic, rather than syntactic, restrictions. In the model proposed here, negating a topic NP affects the “topic selection”. This is allowed with quantified NPs, since negating a quantifier leads only to a modification of the topic selection. For definite/generic subject NPs this cannot be allowed, since negating a definite NP equals cancelling the topic selection. This leads to a ‘crash’ at the semantic level. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Working Paper
publication status
published
subject
keywords
negation, presupposition, implicature, Frege, Russell, Strawson, reference, quantifiers, predication, topic
in
Working Papers in Scandinavian Syntax
ISSN
1100-097X
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
70d0103d-301e-4714-b776-f0137302e207 (old id 534575)
alternative location
http://ling.auf.net/lingBuzz/000281
date added to LUP
2007-09-27 09:21:42
date last changed
2016-04-16 06:27:44
@misc{70d0103d-301e-4714-b776-f0137302e207,
  abstract     = {This paper is a contribution to the never settled debate on reference, negation and presupposition of existence in the linguistic/philosophical literature. Based on Swedish and English data, the discussion is an attempt to present a unified account of the opposing views put forward in the works of Aristotle, Frege (1892), Russell (1905) and Strawson (1950). The starting point is the observed asymmetry in Swedish (and English) that negation may precede a quantified subject NP in the first position, but not a definite subject NP or a proper name. This asymmetry is argued to be due to semantic, rather than syntactic, restrictions. In the model proposed here, negating a topic NP affects the “topic selection”. This is allowed with quantified NPs, since negating a quantifier leads only to a modification of the topic selection. For definite/generic subject NPs this cannot be allowed, since negating a definite NP equals cancelling the topic selection. This leads to a ‘crash’ at the semantic level.},
  author       = {Brandtler, Johan},
  issn         = {1100-097X},
  keyword      = {negation,presupposition,implicature,Frege,Russell,Strawson,reference,quantifiers,predication,topic},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Working Paper},
  series       = {Working Papers in Scandinavian Syntax},
  title        = {On Aristotle and Baldness : Topic, Reference, Presupposition of Existence, and Negation},
  year         = {2006},
}