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Words without ObjectsSemantics, Ontology, and Logic for Non-Singularity$
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Henry Laycock

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199281718

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199281718.001.0001

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A Proposed Semantical Solution to the So‐called ‘Problem of Mass Nouns’

A Proposed Semantical Solution to the So‐called ‘Problem of Mass Nouns’

(p.16) 1 A Proposed Semantical Solution to the So‐called ‘Problem of Mass Nouns’
Words without Objects

Henry Laycock (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter takes issue with the common assumption that referential expressions and definite descriptions involving ‘mass nouns’ are semantically singular, thereby designating so-called parcels of matter or individual instances of stuff. The trouble is that whereas count nouns are either singular or plural, the so-called mass nouns, because they are non-count, are semantically neither singular nor plural. Russell’s Theory of Descriptions as well as considerations on persistence, identity, and flux are invoked to reinforce this point.

Keywords:   body, physical object, parcel, non-singularity, semantic value, identity, transformation

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