Generics and metalinguistic negotiation

David Plunkett, Rachel Katharine Sterken, Timothy Sundell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In this paper, we consider how the notion of metalinguistic negotiation interacts with various theories of generics. The notion of metalinguistic negotiation we discuss stems from previous work from two of us (Plunkett and Sundell). Metalinguistic negotiations are disputes in which speakers disagree about normative issues concerning language, such as issues about what a given word should mean in the relevant context, or which of a range of related concepts a word should express. In a metalinguistic negotiation, speakers argue about such issues implicitly, via competing “metalinguistic” usages of terms. Here, we argue that some disputes involving generics are best thought of as metalinguistic negotiations, and that these cases can be illuminating for our more general theorizing about generics. Specifically, we argue that the “contextualist” theory of generics that one of us (Sterken) has developed in other work is best equipped to account for these metalinguistic negotiations, relative to other leading views of generics. We thus argue for a “package deal” view of generics: a view that combines Plunkett and Sundell’s account of metalinguistic negotiation with Sterken’s contextualist view of generics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number50
JournalSynthese
Volume201
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Thanks to Annie Bosse, Ray Briggs, Herman Cappelen, Natalie Dokken, Patrick Greenough, Quinn Goddard, Nat Hansen, Samia Hesni, Jonah Hirsch, Nithya Kasarla, Justin Khoo, Anders Knospe, Max Kölbel, Zachary Lang, Lukas Lewerentz, David Liebesman, Bernhard Nickel, Jonathan Phillips, Griffon Pion, Kate Ritchie, Adrian Russian, Ravia Thakral, Daniel Wodak, and anonymous referees for helpful feedback and discussion. Earlier versions of this paper were presented at Dartmouth College, MIT, the University of St. Andrews, University of Vienna, and the University of Zurich. Thanks to everyone who participated in those discussions. This research was funded by the Norwegian Research Council Toppforsk project Concept Lab at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Oslo (project number 144259).

Funding Information:
Thanks to Annie Bosse, Ray Briggs, Herman Cappelen, Natalie Dokken, Patrick Greenough, Quinn Goddard, Nat Hansen, Samia Hesni, Jonah Hirsch, Nithya Kasarla, Justin Khoo, Anders Knospe, Max Kölbel, Zachary Lang, Lukas Lewerentz, David Liebesman, Bernhard Nickel, Jonathan Phillips, Griffon Pion, Kate Ritchie, Adrian Russian, Ravia Thakral, Daniel Wodak, and anonymous referees for helpful feedback and discussion. Earlier versions of this paper were presented at Dartmouth College, MIT, the University of St. Andrews, University of Vienna, and the University of Zurich. Thanks to everyone who participated in those discussions. This research was funded by the Norwegian Research Council Toppforsk project Concept Lab at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Oslo (project number 144259).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.

Keywords

  • Contextualism
  • Generics
  • Metalinguistic negotiation
  • Metalinguistic usage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences (all)

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Generics and metalinguistic negotiation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this