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[Review of the book Words Without Objects: Semantics, Ontology, and Logic for Non-Singularity, by Haycock]

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Introduction: Many languages mark a distinction which is commonly referred to as the “mass/count- distinction”; e.g., the distinction between the two occurrences of ‘hair’ in ‘There is hairin my soup’ and ‘There is a hair in my soup’. Often, the mass/count-distinction is drawn primarily with respect to nouns and noun-phrases (or particular occurrences thereof); and it is drawn (at least in English) using syntactic criteria such as the presence or absence of plural-morphology and the licensing of particular kinds of determiners and quantifiers (‘much’ versus ‘many’, etc.). Such purely syntactic criteria lead to the following sort of classification: Mass-Nouns: ‘air’, ‘snow’, ‘clothing’, ‘knowledge’, ... Count-Nouns: ‘beach’, ‘sheep’, ‘clothes’, ‘belief’, ... Dual-Use Nouns: ‘hair’, ‘cloth’, ‘pain’, ‘justification’, ... Even more so than the question of how exactly the mass/count-distinction is to be drawn, linguists and philosophers have been exercised by the question of how this distinction should be interpreted semantically and whether it has any ontological implications.

  • Date created
    2007
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Review
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3QV3CJ4S
  • License
    © 2007 K. Koslicki et al. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • Koslicki, K. (2007). [Review of the book Words Without Objects: Semantics, Ontology, and Logic for Non-Singularity, by H. Laycock]. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 85(1), 160-163. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00048400701193209
  • Link to related item
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00048400701193209