Salvatore Florio & David Nicolas
firstname.lastname@example.org Department of Philosophy University of Birmingham Birmingham, United Kingdom
email@example.com Institut Jean Nicod, Département d'études cognitives ENS, EHESS, CNRS, PSL University Paris, France
In linguistics, the dominant approach to the semantics of plurals appeals to mereology. However, this approach has received strong criticisms from philosophical logicians who subscribe to an alternative framework based on plural logic. In the first part of the article, we offer a precise characterization of the mereological approach and the semantic background in which the debate can be meaningfully reconstructed. In the second part, we deal with the criticisms and assess their logical, linguistic, and philosophical significance. We identify four main objections and show how each can be addressed. Finally, we compare the strengths and shortcomings of the mereological approach and plural logic. Our conclusion is that the former remains a viable and well-motivated framework for the analysis of plurals.
Keywords: Mass nouns, Mereology, Model theory, Natural language semantics, Ontological commitment, Plural logic, Plurals, Russell’s paradox, Truth theory
Published in Journal of Philosophical Studies - Direct link to article in pdf