<b>A Proposed Semantical Solution to the So‐called ‘Problem of Mass Nouns’</b>

Henry Laycock

in Words without Objects

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780199281718
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603594 | DOI:
 A Proposed Semantical Solution to the So‐called ‘Problem of Mass Nouns’

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This chapter takes issue with the common assumption that referential expressions and definite descriptions involving ‘mass nouns’ are semantically singular, thereby designating so-called parcels of matter or individual instances of stuff. The trouble is that whereas count nouns are either singular or plural, the so-called mass nouns, because they are non-count, are semantically neither singular nor plural. Russell’s Theory of Descriptions as well as considerations on persistence, identity, and flux are invoked to reinforce this point.

Keywords: body; physical object; parcel; non-singularity; semantic value; identity; transformation

Chapter.  17804 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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