Generics and typicality

Cimpian et al. (2010) observed that we accept generic statements of the form 'Gs are f' on relatively weak evidence, but that if we are unfamiliar with group G and we learn a generic statement about it, we still interpre
Cimpian et al. (2010) observed that we accept generic statements of the form 'Gs are f' on relatively weak evidence, but that if we are unfamiliar with group G and we learn a generic statement about it, we still interpret it in a much stronger way: (almost) all Gs are f . 
This paper makes use of notions like 'representativeness' and 'contingency' from (associative learning) psychology to provide a semantics of generics that explains why people accept generics based on weak evidence. We make use of the Heuristics and Biases approach of Tversky and Kahneman (1974) and the Associative Theory of Probability Judgements to explain pragmatically why people interpret generic statements in a much stronger way. The spirit of the approach has much in common with Leslie's (2008) cognition-based ideas about generics, but the semantics is grounded on Cohen's (1999) relative readings of generic sentences. The basic intuition is that a generic of the form 'Gs are f' is true, not because most Gs are (or tend to have) f , but because f is typical for G, which means that f is valuably associated with G.
show moreshow less

Download full text files

Export metadata

  • Export Bibtex
  • Export RIS

Additional Services

    Share in Twitter Search Google Scholar
Metadaten
Author:Robert van Rooij
URN:urn:nbn:de:hebis:30:3-558556
DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.21248/zaspil.61.2018.506
ISSN:1435-9588
ISSN:0947-7055
Parent Title (English):Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 22, Vol. 2 / eds. Uli Sauerland and Stephanie Solt. Berlin, Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft: ZAS papers in linguistics ; Nr. 61
Publisher:Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS)
Place of publication:Berlin
Document Type:Part of a Book
Language:English
Year of Completion:2020
Year of first Publication:2018
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2020/09/16
Pagenumber:18
First Page:443
Last Page:461
Dewey Decimal Classification:400 Sprache
410 Linguistik
Sammlungen:Linguistik
Linguistic-Classification:Linguistik-Klassifikation: Semantik / Semantics
Zeitschriften / Jahresberichte:ZASPiL 61 = Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 22, Vol. 2
Journal: Dazugehörige Zeitschrift anzeigen
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0

$Rev: 11761 $