Forum: WikiDiscuss

The Quandary about xorlo


pc:
> --- And Rosta wrote:
> > pc:
> > > --- And Rosta wrote:
> > > > "I went to the bathroom/doctor" is true if
> > > > there
> > > > is a bathroom/doctor that I went to. So why
> > > > does
> > > > English say "the"? It is not referentially
> > > > specific
> > >
> > > But of course it is: the one I went to is
> > quite
> > > specific and is the one being referred to in
> > this
> > > case. To be sure, who it is may not be
> > > important, etc., but it is still there.
> >
> > No, specificity affects truthconditions,
> > because
> > reference must be fixed before truthconditions
> > apply. But the 'reference' of "the doctor" is
> > irrelevant here; so long as I went to a doctor,
> > "I went to the doctor" is true, and not
> > contingent
> > on which doctor "the doctor" refers to.
>
> True, it doesn't depend on that but that does not
> mean that there is not a doctor that I went to
> and who makes the claim true. We may not know or
> care who it is but he is there nonetheless. Why
> isn't he what is referred to by "the doctor."
> Otherwise it just collapses to "a doctor," which
> is all right, too, — and still doesn't get any
> generic doctors involved.

That was my point: it does seem to be truth-
conditionally equivalent to "a doctor", so why

  • "the"*? — Answer is that it refers to the generic

doctor, which in nonopaque contexts is
truthconditionally equivalent to "a doctor".

> > > > and nor is there *literally* even only one
> > > > individual
> > > > that could satisfy the description (cf.
> > "the
> > > > priest
> > > > that christened me" — "the" because only
> > one
> > > > priest
> > > > christened me).
> > >
> > > Yes, I might have gone to another doctor just
> > as
> > > effectively, but I did go to this one.
> >
> > That's a fact about the world, not about the
> > meaning
> > of the sentence.
>
> I thought the meaning of the sentence was a fact
> about the world. I don't get the point here.
> You may not know or care who the doctor was, but
> tht doesn't mean I am not referring to him
> (indeed, I may not knpow or care either).

The meaning of the sentence is a set of
truthconditions, not some particular state of affairs
that happens to satisfy those truthconditions. If
I in fact did not go to the doctor at all, the
meaning of the sentence is still the same (-- but
the sentence becomes false).

> > > Getting a coherent notion of what the
> > mumbo-jumbo
> > > is about would help. As far as I can tell,
> > there
> > > is nothing in Linguistics that covers this
> > issue
> > > in a relevant way.
> >
> > I remember having had this discussion before,
> > so
> > won't repeat it now.
> Me too. I think it might help to get this round
> (about the fourth with this group and something
> like the tenth for the last 30 years (and a
> couple more I know of in the previous 10) off to
> a better start if we settled one question first.
> There is a pattern of dealing with these issues
> that goes back at least to the mid 1960s. It has
> changed in details within each of the logical
> languages but has remained constant in spirit and
> broad construction. My position is a current
> version of that tradition. Is your objection to
> my position or the tradition of which it is a
> part? In either case is the objection that it
> doesn't work in fact or that it doesn't work in
> principle. Or is the objection that, though it
> works it is too messy or too hard or some other
> extrinsic criterion? For the record, my
> objection to your views (in so far as they are
> more than examples and unsupported claims) is
> that it doesn't work in principle and also that
> it is too messy (and yet too simpleminded).

If the tradition you mean is "propositionalism"
-- handling a sumti in an opaque sumti place
by filling the sumti place with a proposition
and quantifying the sumti within the proposition
-- then my objection is that it seems not to
work at all for some sumti places (e.g. nelci2
and pixra2), and that for other sumti places
(e.g. nitcu2, casnu2) it seems more like a work-
around, not capturing the true meaning of the
selbri. Besides this objection to propositionalism,
though, I think there should be a way to refer
to Mr Broda — at least for those speakers who
find it useful to do so.

> > > > > And, insofar as I can get clear
> > > > > statements of what happens, the Dr. Dr.
> > > > reading
> > > > > simply will not help: I don't need Dr.
> > Dr.
> > > > but a
> > > > > real doctor and Dr. Dr. is not even a
> > doctor,
> > > > let
> > > > > alone the one I need
> > > >
> > > > Dr Dr is a real doctor and is the one that
> > is
> > > > needed.
> > >
> > > Not so on the first point (since there is no
> > > particular doctor I need and, if Dr. Dr. is a
> > > doctor he is a particular one).
> >
> > Dr Dr is all doctors.
>
> Say what? I don't need all doctors either, just
> one. And a concrete one at that.

JohnPC is all slices of JPC, and gold is all bits
of gold, but if I need JPC or I need gold, that
doesn't mean I need all slices of JPC or all
bits of gold.

> > > > > > 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".
> > > > >
> > > > > The analogy escapes me. Referring to a
> > > > single
> > > > > object as "gold" is to identify it by its
> > > > > substance, not to identify it as that
> > > > substance
> > > > > tout court.
> > > >
> > > > The truthconditions of "I found gold in my
> > > > garden"
> > > > are such that if I found any bit of gold
> > then
> > > > it
> > > > is true.
> > >
> > > Yes. And so?
> >
> > Mr Broda works like an English mass noun in
> > this
> > respect (-- indeed, I believe names are mass
> > nouns).
> > The point was that when you consider the normal
> > behaviour of English mass nouns, the behaviour
> > of Mr Broda seems less odd.
>
> I just don't see the analogy at all. If I find a
> bit of gold, I find gold; if I find a bit of a
> doctor, I find a doctor. No, that can't be it.
> Ah: if I find a bit of Dr. Dr. — that is, a
> doctor — then I find a doctor. Except for the
> useless bit about bits of Dr. Dr. that is a
> tautology and every bit as informative as they
> usually are. And it doesn't help at all with
> opacity: there is no bit of Dr. Dr. that I need
> either (I just need the event of my having a
> doctor).

If I find a slice of JPC then I find JPC. Would
you insist on translating "I sought JPC" as "I
tried to bring it about that there is a slice
of JPC (that I found)"?

Nothing new is being said in this discussion, I feel.
I understand your position: that Mr Broda is
ontologically incoherent.

--And.

 



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