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The Quandary about xorlo


pc:
> Of course, since the main pr0oblem
> ultimately is "What does {lo broda} mean?" this
> would seem to be case of the sort discussed later
> — that {lo broda} does not have any fixed
> meaning but can shift around at someone's
> convenience.
>
> > "lo broda" refers to whatever the speaker
> > chooses
> > (subject to the requirement that it has the
> > property of brodahood), so it's up to the
> > speaker
> > whether it can refer to Mr Broda. But it is
> > true
> > that any speaker who doesn't like the notion of
> > Mr
> > Broda is going to have to find alternative ways
> > of
> > expressing opaque sumti. But (a) some speakers
> > definitely are happy to refer to Mr Broda (-- I
> > am one of them...), and (b) those other ways of
> >
> > expressing opaque sumti (e.g. your suggestion
> > of
> > using a propositional sumti of an appropriately
> >
> > defined selbri) are still going to be
> > available.
>
>
> Well, I am glad they are available, but that
> doesn't help with the fact that they are not
> obligatory, which is what is needed here --
> unless Mr. Potato Head or its equivalents can be
> specified. I think the "{lo broda} can mean
> whatever the speaker wants as long as it is a
> broda" is very telling — this means that
> communication — except among telepaths --
> becomes a much more risky business than it
> ordinarily is, even if the speaker sticks to the
> same meaning for several sentences (which, in the
> opaque cases he usually does not).

1. One might see "I went to the doctor today", "Go
to the toilet/bathroom", "I get the bus to work" as
involving Mr Doctor, Mr Toilet, Mr Bus. They are
all generics, and appear not to involve quantification
or referential specificity. To me, "I need a doctor"
and "I need the doctor" mean the same ("I need medical
attention"). And "the doctor" in "I need the doctor"
seems the same as in "Have you gone to the doctor about
this problem?". Thus it seems that a satisfactory way
of expressing genericity will also yield a satisfactory
way of expressing opaque sumti.

2. The claim is not that {lo broda} can *mean* whatever
the speaker wants it to, but rather that it can (because
of its genericity) *refer* to whatever whatever broda
the speaker wants it to. Consider English mass nouns
like "water" or "gold" — any bit of gold can be
referred to as "gold".

> iIncidentally, in any useful sense of Mr. Broda,
> it is not a broda. If it is, then it clearly
> cannot solve the opaque "problem"

"Mr Broda is broda", "lo broda cu broda" are true.
Just like "Mr Pycyn has the property of pycynhood" is.

I think it does solve the opaque problem: see (1) above.

--And.

 


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