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Title: Modality as a Window into Cognition
Authors: Atkins, Laura Ashley
Advisors: Graff Fara, Delia
Rosen, Gideon
Contributors: Philosophy Department
Keywords: aspect
formal semantics
philosophy of language
philosophy of mind
Subjects: Philosophy
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation explores questions at the foundation of the study of meaning. It is primarily concerned with the question of how semantic explanation is related to linguistically-encoded meaning and of how linguistically-encoded meanings interact or interface with extra-linguistic cognition (which is really a contemporary articulation of the question 'How is language connected to thought?'). Its central finding is that there are a variety of natural language expressions that systematically give rise to modal interpretations though, as it argues, these expressions do not have linguistically-encoded modal meanings. What these interpretations reflect is the modal structure of cognition, not the modal structure of language. A semantic explanation of these expressions, then, encompasses not only an explanation of their meanings but an explanation of how these meanings engage modal cognition and what the semantic output of that system is once it is so engaged. Finally, it proposes that these modal interpretations be understood within a broad framework within which natural language enables the domain-general use of representations that might otherwise remain isolated with domain-specific cognitive systems. What these modal interpretations ultimately reflect, then, is the (domain-general) use of non-modal expressions within the modal domain of thought.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Philosophy

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