© 1979

Mass Terms: Some Philosophical Problems

  • Francis Jeffry Pelletier

Part of the Synthese Language Library book series (SLAP, volume 6)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Francis Jeffry Pelletier
    Pages 1-14
  3. Robert X. Ware
    Pages 15-29
  4. Helen M. Cartwright
    Pages 31-46
  5. Richard Sharvy
    Pages 47-54
  6. Francis Jeffry Pelletier
    Pages 55-61
  7. Eddy M. Zemach
    Pages 63-80
  8. Eddy M. Zemach
    Pages 81-87
  9. Henry Laycock
    Pages 89-120
  10. Kathleen C. Cook
    Pages 121-135
  11. Terence Parsons
    Pages 137-166
  12. Terence Parsons
    Pages 167-171
  13. Richard Montague
    Pages 173-178
  14. Helen M. Cartwright
    Pages 179-198
  15. Tyler Burge
    Pages 199-218
  16. Richard E. Grandy
    Pages 219-225
  17. Brian F. Chellas
    Pages 227-231
  18. D. Gabbay, J. M. E. Moravcsik
    Pages 233-247
  19. G. Bealer
    Pages 279-294

About this book


I. MASS TERMS, COUNT TERMS, AND SORTAL TERMS Central examples of mass terms are easy to come by. 'Water', 'smoke', 'gold', etc. , differ in their syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic properties from count terms such as 'man', 'star', 'wastebasket', etc. Syntactically, it seems, mass terms do, but singular count terms do not, admit the quantifier phrases 'much', 'an amount of', 'a little', etc. The typical indefinite article for them is 'some' (unstressed)!, and this article cannot be used with singular count terms. Count terms, but not mass terms, use the quantifiers 'each', 'every', 'some', 'few', 'many'; and they use 'a(n)' as the indefinite article. They can, unlike the mass terms, take numerals as prefixes. Mass terms seem not to have a plural. Semantically, philo­ sophers have characterized count terms as denoting (classes of?) indi­ vidual objects, whereas what mass terms denote are cumulative and dissective. (That is, a mass term is supposed to be true of any sum of things (stuff) it is true of, and true of any part of anything of which it is true). Pragmatically, it seems that speakers use count terms when they wish to refer to individual objects, or when they wish to reidentify a particular already introduced into discoursc. Given a "space appropriate" to a count term C, it makes sense to ask how many C's there are in that space.


Ontologie language mass nouns nouns objects singular subject

Editors and affiliations

  • Francis Jeffry Pelletier
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Mass Terms: Some Philosophical Problems
  • Editors Francis Jeffrey Pelletier
  • Series Title Synthese Language Library
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1979
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-90-277-0931-8
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-4020-3265-3
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-4020-4110-5
  • Series ISSN 0924-4662
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIII, 305
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Grammar
    Philosophy of Language
  • Buy this book on publisher's site