Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Editors: Martin, Fabienne
Pitteroff, Marcel
Pross, Tillmann
Title: Morphological, syntactic and semantic aspects of dispositions
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Stuttgart : Universität Stuttgart, SFB Konferenzband Workshop on the Morphological, Syntactic and Semantic Aspects of Dispositions (2015, Stuttgart) VI, 136
Series/Report no.: SinSpeC - Working Papers of the SFB 732 "Incremental Specification in Context";13
ISSN: 1867-3082
Abstract: This volume gathers a subset of the papers presented at the Workshop on the Morphological, Syntactic and Semantic Aspects of Dispositions held at the University of Stuttgart from June 25 to June 27 2015. The invited speakers were Artemis Alexiadou, Nora Boneh, Elena Castroviejo, Ariel Cohen, Bridget Copley, Hans Kamp, Marika Lekakou, John Maier, Christopher Piñón, Károly Varasdi and Barbara Vetter. Other contributions have been presented by Simona Aimar, Saveria Colonna, Marta Donazzan, Berit Gehrke, Daniel Kodaj, Nick Kroll, Isabelle Roy and Lucia Tovena. While appeals to dispositions have been made in just about every area of linguistics and philosophy, the syntax, semantics and ontology of dispositions is still subject to debate. A first obvious reason why dispositions are hard to deal with in linguistics is that the predominant Neo-Davidsonian account of logical forms is based on the isolated analysis of actual relations between causes and effects, whereas dispositions pertain to potential cause-effect relations, difficult to grasp in traditional syntax/semantic frameworks. Besides, whereas for actual causations, the binary distinction between the roles Agent/Causer and Theme/Patient makes perfect sense, possible cause-effect relations partly escape these distinctions. The instantiation of a disposition in an object is not related to being an Agent or to being a Theme of the disposition. A second obvious difficulty raised by dispositions is due to the versatility of dispositional predicates. Those are commonly used to describe either permanent or temporary properties of individuals, or manifestations of these properties through events, not to mention their other (e.g. epistemic) readings. The goal of the workshop was to subject to critical scrutiny the Neo-Davidsonian foundation of syntax and semantics in the light of the linguistic expression of dispositional causal powers. We aimed to bring together linguists and philosophers interested in contributing to a common point of departure in the analysis of dispositions beyond the Neo-Davidsonian framework. Three central questions emerged as central issues of the workshop: 1. Uncontroversially, dispositions are properties - but what kind of properties are dispositions? 2. What are dispositions properties of? 3. Do the different expressions we find in natural languages differentiate between different types of dispositions? The papers collected in this volume represent the variety of answers that have been provided by the workshop participants to one or more of these questions. Concerning the first question, centered on the nature of dispositions, the paper by Vetter argues that dispositions are irreducible modal properties, and proposes a modal semantics which uses the resources of an ‘anti-Humean’ metaphysics instead of possible worlds. The papers by Boneh and Cohen approach in more detail the specificity of the modal properties that correspond to dispositions. Boneh examines the relation between dispositional and habitual readings. She argues that in bare generic sentences, there is no sound linguistic criteria to set apart dispositional readings from habitual readings. Cohen proposes a classification of dispositions according to whether their argument is a causer or not, and whether they are always, or only sometimes realized. He demonstrates that each such type of disposition is expressed by a distinct linguistic expression. The bearer of dispositions is the subject of the papers of Kroll, Donazzan & Tovena and Cohen. Kroll analyzes events in progress as being the bearers of dispositions. Donazzan and Tovena, like Cohen, highlight the fact that bearers of dispositions are often systems consisting of one or more protagonists situated in an environment. With respect to the linguistic expression of dispositions, Castroviejo & Oltra-Massuet present a case study on the semantics of the Spanish expression ser capaz ‘be capable’, which is carefully compared to its English counterpart. The paper by Alexiadou examines the restrictions on the formation of -able adjectives from object experiencer verbs. She argues that their availability depends not only on their aspectual properties, but also on the Voice system of a language - i.e. dispositional -able formation takes as input a structure involving passive resp. middle Voice. Finally, Roy et. al. consider how grammatical and conceptual knowledge affect children’s and adults’ interpretation of derived -er nominals such as cutter of branches (a phrasal -er nominal) and branch cutter (a compound -er nominal) in English.
Appears in Collections:12 Sonderforschungs- und Transferbereiche

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Dispositions-Volume.pdf37,83 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in OPUS are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.