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The Genealogy of Disjunction$
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R. E. Jennings

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780195075243

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195075243.001.0001

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(p.3) Chapter 1 Introduction
The Genealogy of Disjunction

R. E. Jennings

Oxford University Press

The first chapter discusses the association of the English word ‘or’ in reasoning. “Or” is descended from the Anglo-Saxon word meaning second, a form which survives in such expressions as “every other day.” If logical theory had not introduced the vocabulary of disjunction, we could not formulate the question. The truth-functional character of ‘or’ and ‘and’, if they have such a character in their natural language habitat, is a character that is derived as a consequence of their playing a certain role in discourse, one best described as punctuation, or in a specialized sense of the word adverbial. In many cases, the transformation of a sentence embedding an or-list to an equivalent or joined pair of sentences cannot plausibly be called disjunctive distribution. ‘Or’-words derive from additive rather than from subtractive ancestors.

Keywords:   or, disjunction, proposition, molecular sentence, distribution, disjunctive distribution, truth-functional character, or-list

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