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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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The Puzzle about ‘Or’

The Puzzle about ‘Or’

(p.84) Chapter 4 The Puzzle about ‘Or’
The Genealogy of Disjunction

R. E. Jennings

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines puzzle about the word ‘or’ and some proposed solutions. The theorems of propositional logic are interpreted in such a way as to be provided with an analogous account. The contrast lies in the absence of any such compositional account of ‘or’ and the vocabulary of preference. The distributive puzzle has merely been displaced. We should have to justify the assumption that every list formed with ‘or’ is a disjunctive list. A grammaticological account of distribution over or-lists depends upon our being able to understand the list-containing sentence as a sentence-embedding sentence. Readers have to add a parallel observation about ‘or’. Disjunctive occurrences of ‘or’ as a sentential connective are, if not quite rare, at least not among the commonest uses of ‘or’ in spoken or written English.

Keywords:   vocabulary of preference, disjunctive, grammaticological approach, sententially paraphrasable, distributive, sentential clauses, undistributive, conjunctively distributive

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