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Croatian Journal of Philosophy

Volume 7, Issue 3, 2007

Philosophy of Linguistics

Paul M. Pietroski
Pages 343-374

Systematicity via Monadicity

Words indicate concepts, which have various adicities. But words do not, in general, inherit the adicities of the indicated concepts. Lots of evidence suggests that when a concept is lexicalized, it is linked to an analytically related monadic concept that can be conjoined with others. For example, the dyadic concept CHASE(_,_) might be linked to CHASE(_), a concept that applies to certain events. Drawing on a wide range of extant work, and familiar facts, I argue that the (open class) lexical items of a natural spoken language include neither names nor polyadic predicates. The paper ends with some speculations about the value of a language faculty that would impose uniform monadic analyses on all concepts, including the singular and relational concepts that we share with other animals.

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