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methods of resolving mismatches between place structures and number of overt sumti


John E Clifford scripsit:

> I find this discussion baffling, perhaps because I do not see a problem
> with putting {no da} in any place where it might fit to reflect the way
> the world is, so {no da}ing the "lid" place of {botpi} seems perfectly
> meaningful and often involved in true descriptions of situations.

That doesn't work. ta botpi no da means that nothing stands in a botpi
relationship with that object; this sentence affirms nothing.

> Thus, ordered n-1 tuples might be admitted in the extension of this new
> predicate that are not part of any n tuple in the extension of the old,

Yes, but which novel (n-1)-tuples are allowed and which are not? There
is no simple universal answer to this, which is what makes default
zihoing such a bad idea.

> At various times and places {zo'e} is said to stand for the obvious
> value (in the context, I suppose), to stand for anything other than
> {no da} (and its equivalents) and {zi'o}, to indicate that it doesn't
> matter what you put in there (?so long as it makes the sentence true?)

These are different ways of formulating the same thing. When I assert
"ta gerku", there is some dog breed (se gerku) to which that object belongs,
I'm just not bothering to specify it. I simply exclude, on Gricean
grounds, the notion that you're allowed to say "broda" when in fact
what you mean is "noda broda".

If "ta gerku" is to be interpreted as "ta gerku zi'o", then we don't
know what that means until we nail down just which objects are
gerku be zi'o but not gerku be da.

> To be sure, if what was skipped was known to be {no da}, a good Gricean
> might object to a speaker not mentioning that, if anything might hang
> on it, but in the case of indifference — and certainly of ignorance --
> {no da} is a possible value to be discovered.

Not so. We do not want a world-3 in which seemingly affirmative claims
turn out to be disguised versions of negative ones.

> If blank is really an abbreviation for {zo'e}, then (or {zo'e} the
> blank made visible) surely it has this value (pragmatic, not semantic)
> "For some reason, I am not telling you about things that go in here"
> and usually this causes no problems. And when it does cause problems,
> well, everyone knows where to find {ma}, though a lot of metaanswers
> are possible: "I never even thought about that," for example.

Just so.

--
Don't be so humble. You're not that great. John Cowan
--Golda Meir jcowan@reutershealth.com

 


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