•  94
    Plurals and Mereology
    Journal of Philosophical Logic 1-31. forthcoming.
    In linguistics, the dominant approach to the semantics of plurals appeals to mereology. However, this approach has received strong criticisms from philosophical logicians who subscribe to an alternative framework based on plural logic. In the first part of the article, we offer a precise characterization of the mereological approach and the semantic background in which the debate can be meaningfully reconstructed. In the second part, we deal with the criticisms and assess their logical, linguist…Read more
  •  156
    In ‘Essential stuff' (2008) and ‘Stuff' (2009), Kristie Miller argues that two generally accepted theses, often formulated as follows, are incompatible: - (Temporal) mereological essentialism for stuff (or matter), the thesis that any portion of stuff has the same parts at every time it exists. - Stuff composition, the thesis that for any two portions of stuff, there exists a portion of stuff that is their mereological sum (or fusion). She does this by considering competing hypotheses about stuf…Read more
  •  244
    Superplurals in English
    Analysis 68 (3). 2008.
    where ‘aa’ is a plural term, and ‘F’ a plural predicate. Following George Boolos (1984) and others, many philosophers and logicians also think that plural expressions should be analysed as not introducing any new ontological commitments to some sort of ‘plural entities’, but rather as involving a new form of reference to objects to which we are already committed (for an overview and further details, see Linnebo 2004). For instance, the plural term ‘aa’ refers to Alice, Bob and Charlie simultaneo…Read more
  •  65
    Les usages déférentiels
    with Philippe de Brabanter, Isidora Stojanovic, and Neftali Villanueva Fernandez
    In L'épistémologie sociale, Editions De L'ehess. 2005.
    Our aim in this paper is to clarify the distinctions and the relationships among several phenomena, each of which has certain characteristics of what is generally called “deference”. We distinguish linguistic deference, which concerns the use of language and the meaning of the words we use, from epistemic deference, which concerns our reasons and evidence for making the claims we make. In our in-depth study of linguistic deference, we distinguish two subcategories: default deference, and deliber…Read more
  •  21
    Do we interpret in the same manner the expressions 'deux pommes' and 'deux pommes et demie'? Studying their English equivalents 'two apples' and 'two and a half apples', Liebesman (2015) has recently proposed that the interpretation of both expressions involves a form of measure, distinct from simple counting. I first present Liebesman’s arguments concerning English. Then I analyze the case of French. I defend the following theses: the interpretation of 'deux pommes' does use ordinary counting w…Read more
  •  21
    Matière et mélanges
    le Français Moderne 2 246-260. 2017.
  •  62
    In many languages, common nouns are divided into two morpho-syntactic subclasses, count nouns and mass nouns. Yet in certain contexts, count nouns can be used as if they were mass nouns. This linguistic phenomenon is called conversion. In this paper, we consider the conversions of count nouns into mass nouns in French. First, we identify a general semantic constraint that must be respected in these conversions, and various cases in which a count noun can be used as a mass noun. Second, we examin…Read more
  •  96
    Towards a semantics for mass expressions derived from gradable expressions
    Recherches Linguistiques de Vincennes 39 163-198. 2010.
    What semantics should we attribute to mass expressions like "wisdom" and "love", which are derived from gradable expressions? We first examine how these expressions are used, then how they are interpreted in their various uses. We then propose a model to account for these data, in which derived mass nouns denote instances of properties.
  •  85
    Abstract: Friends of plural logic—like Oliver & Smiley (2001), Rayo (2002), Yi (2005), and McKay (2006)—have argued that a semantics of plurals based on mereological sums would be too weak, and they have adduced several examples in favor of their claim. However, they have not considered various possible counter-arguments. So how convincing are their own arguments? We show that several of them are easily answered, while some others are more problematic. Overall, the case against mereological sing…Read more
  •  32
    La compositionalité: Questions conceptuelles
    Sémanticlopédie : Dictionnaire de Sémantique. 2006.
    In D. Godard, L. Roussarie & F. Corblin (eds.), Sémanticlopédie : dictionnaire de sémantique, GDR Sémantique & Modélisation, CNRS.
  •  27
    The logic of mass expressions
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2018.
    International audience.
  •  64
    Types of degrees and types of event structures
    with Patrick Caudal
    In Event Arguments: Foundations and Applications, Mouton De Gruyter. pp. 277-300. 2005.
    In this paper, we investigate how certain types of predicates should be connected with certain types of degree scales, and how this can affect the events they describe. The distribution and interpretation of various degree adverbials will serve us as a guideline in this perspective. They suggest that two main types of degree scales should be distinguished: (i) quantity scales, which are characterized by the semantic equivalence of Yannig ate the cake partially and Yannig ate part of the cake; qu…Read more
  •  46
    In English, some common nouns, like 'dog', can combine with determiners like 'a' and 'many', but not with 'much', while other nouns, like 'water', can be used together with 'much', but not with 'a' and 'many'. These common nouns have been respectively called count nouns (CNs) and mass nouns (MNs). How do children learn to use CNs and MNs in the appropriate contexts? Gaining a better understanding of this is the goal of this paper. To do so, it is important to first get clear on the nature of the…Read more
  •  144
    Mass nouns and plural logic
    Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (2): 211-244. 2008.
    A dilemma put forward by Schein (1993) and Rayo (2002) suggests that, in order to characterize the semantics of plurals, we should not use predicate logic, but non-singular logic, a formal language whose terms may refer to several things at once. We show that a similar dilemma applies to mass nouns. If we use predicate logic and sets, we arrive at a Russellian paradox when characterizing the semantics of mass nouns. Likewise, a semantics of mass nouns based upon predicate logic and mereological …Read more
  •  53
    La distinction massif / comptable
    Sémanticlopédie : Dictionnaire de Sémantique. 2006.
    In D. Godard, L. Roussarie & F. Corblin (eds.), Sémanticlopédie : dictionnaire de sémantique, GDR Sémantique & Modélisation, CNRS, http://www.semantique-gdr.net/dico/.
  •  104
    Plural Logic and Sensitivity to Order
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (3): 444-464. 2015.
    Sentences that exhibit sensitivity to order (e.g. 'John and Mary arrived at school in that order' and 'Mary and John arrived at school in that order') present a challenge for the standard formulation of plural logic. In response, some authors have advocated new versions of plural logic based on fine-grained notions of plural reference, such as serial reference (Hewitt 2012) and articulated reference (Ben-Yami 2013). The aim of this article is to show that sensitivity to order should be accounted…Read more
  •  136
    What semantics should we attribute to nouns like "wisdom" and "generosity", which are derived from gradable adjectives? We show that, from a morphosyntactic standpoint, these nouns are mass nouns. This leads us to consider and answer the following questions. How are these nouns interpreted in their various uses? What formal representations may one associate with their interpretations? How do these depend on the semantics of the adjective? And where lies the semantic unity of nouns like wisdom an…Read more
  •  95
    In English, some common nouns, like "cat", can be used in the singular and in the plural, while others, like "wate"r, are invariable. Moreover, nouns like "cat" can be employed with numerals like "one" and "two" and determiners like "a", "many" and "few", but neither with "much" nor "little". On the contrary, nouns like "milk" can be used with determiners like "much" and "little", but neither with "a", "one" nor "many". These two types of nouns constitute two morphosyntactic sub-classes of Engli…Read more
  •  30
    La phrase nominale existentielle et la distinction aspectuelle télique / atélique
    with Florence Lefeuvre
    Revue de Sémantique Et Pragmatique 14 157-173. 2003.
    L'objet de cet article est d'examiner en quoi la phrase nominale existentielle : (a) "Lecture pendant toute la matinée" (b) "Lecture d'un poème" (c) "Lecture" peut être concernée par la distinction aspectuelle télique / atélique. Nous avons examiné les phrases qui, notamment à cause du type d'expression nominale employé, renvoient à un événement, un processus ou un état. Celles qui renvoient à un événement sont téliques, les autres sont atéliques, comme dans le cas des expressions verbales. Nous…Read more
  •  73
    Delegation, subdivision, and modularity: How rich is conceptual structure?
    with Damián Justo, Julien Dutant, Benoît Hardy-Vallée, and Benjamin Q. Sylvand
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (6): 683-684. 2003.
    Contra Jackendoff, we argue that within the parallel architecture framework, the generality of language does not require a rich conceptual structure. To show this, we put forward a delegation model of specialization. We find Jackendoff's alternative, the subdivision model, insufficiently supported. In particular, the computational consequences of his representational notion of modularity need to be clarified.
  •  33
    Sémanticlopédie: Dictionnaire de Sémantique. 2006.
    In D. Godard, L. Roussarie & F. Corblin (eds.), Sémanticlopédie : dictionnaire de sémantique, GDR Sémantique & Modélisation, CNRS.