Reading Philosophical Texts The assignments in your course require you to engage in a close reading of significant texts written by the major philosophers of the Western tradition.
In both systems, the meaning of a question is a function from worlds to sets of propositions.
As acknowledged by Karttunen10the difference is inessential. In both cases, the meaning of a question is fully determined by—and could be identified with—the set of all propositions that correspond to a possible answer.
Of course, they do provide a compositional semantics for a fragment of English, and thereby specify what they take to be the possible answers to the questions in that fragment.
To illustrate this point, consider the following example: Only Paul and Nina are coming. Some girls from my class are coming. In principle, all the responses in 8a—d could be seen as possible answers to 8.
For Hamblin and Karttunen, only 8a counts as such. However, it is not clear what the precise criteria are for being considered a possible answer, and on which grounds 8a is to be distinguished from 8b—d.
The meaning of a question, then, is a function from worlds to propositions. These propositions have two special properties: So the meaning of a question can be identified with a set of propositions which form a partition of the logical space.
This means that a partition semantics can in many cases be tested against clear intuitions, unlike a Hamblin semantics. It is not quite clear pre-theoretically which of these two options is more suitable. This may be considered a reason to pick the first option instead.
However, this line of reasoning is purely theory-internal; it seems impossible to decide on theory-external grounds what the true exhaustive answers to a conditional question should be taken to be.
Conditional questions like 9 also present another challenge for a partition semantics, concerning answers that deny the antecedent of the conditional in this case the answer that Ann is not coming. Intuitively, such answers dispel the issue raised by the question, but do not resolve the issue as intended.
Their status differs from answers that do resolve the issue as intended in this case the answer that Bill is coming if Ann is coming, and the answer that Bill is not coming if Ann is coming.
In a basic partition semantics it is impossible to capture this. In worlds where Ann is not coming, the answer that Ann is not coming presumably is the true exhaustive answer. Its special status, however, cannot be captured.
A similar problem arises with alternative questions like In this case, the answer that neither Ann nor Bill is coming and the answer that Ann and Bill are both coming have a different status than the answer that only Ann is coming and the answer that only Bill is coming.
Again, this difference in status cannot be captured in a simple partition semantics.Philosophy explains ways of thinking using logic and has a rich history that lead the way to much of our science, art and religion. To unlock this lesson you must be a kaja-net.com Member. Create. Welcome to the study of philosophy; I hope that you will enjoy your pursuit of the discipline and find it rewarding in many ways.
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