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Kinds, Things, and Stuff – Mass Terms and Generics | Oxford Scholarship Online
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Kinds, Things, and Stuff: Mass Terms and Generics

Francis Jeffry Pelletier


We might hear that marshmallows are sweet. Here, we are talking about the kind marshmallow and assert that individual instances of this kind have the property of being sweet. Strangely, we are prepared to believe these so‐called generic sentences even though we are aware that there are some bad‐tasting marshmallows. What can make these generic sentences be true even when there are exceptions? This question has led philosophers, linguists, and researchers in artificial intelligence to search for semantic theories that could accommodate this phenomenon. The word water is a mass term; the word do ... More

Keywords: generics, mass terms, psychology of language, language acquisition, philosophy of language, human brain/mind, semantics

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2009 Print ISBN-13: 9780195382891
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195382891.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Francis Jeffry Pelletier, editor
Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Science, Professor of Philosophy and Linguistics
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