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Questions

  • Henry Hiż

Part of the Synthese Language Library book series (SLAP, volume 1)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XVII
  2. Dwight Bolinger
    Pages 107-150
  3. Lauri Karttunen
    Pages 165-210
  4. Henry Hiż
    Pages 211-226
  5. Charles H. Kahn
    Pages 227-278
  6. Jaakko Hintikka
    Pages 279-300
  7. Ranier Lang
    Pages 301-318
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 347-366

About this book

Introduction

To the philosopher, the logician, and the linguist, questions have a special fascination. The two main views of language, that it describes the world, and that it expresses thought, are not directly applicable to questions. Ques­ tions are not assertions. A question may be apt, sharp, to the point, impor­ tant, or it may be inappropriate, ambiguous, awkward, irrelevant or irreverent. But it cannot be true or false. It does not have a truth value not just because an utterance like Was the letter long? does not indicate which letter is being talked about. The indicative The letter was not long has the same indeter­ minacy. In actual context the anaphoric definite article will be resolved both for a question and for an indicative sentence. Contextual resolutions are easily found for most cross-references. A question cannot be either true or it does not describe a state of affairs. Neither does it express false, because thought, because it is an expression of suspended thought, of lack of judge­ ment. To dress it in other philosophical styles, a question is not a judgment, it is not a proposition, it is not an assertion. A philosopher may try to paraphrase a question as an indicative sentence, for instance as a statement of ignorance, or as a statement of the desire to know. Hintikka, Wachowicz and Lang explore this territory. Or he may interpret it as a meta statement intimating the direction in which the flow of the discourse is going.

Keywords

English semantic semantics syntactic time transformation

Editors and affiliations

  • Henry Hiż
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Pennsylvania and Clare HallCambridgeUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-009-9509-3
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1978
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-90-277-1035-2
  • Online ISBN 978-94-009-9509-3
  • Series Print ISSN 0924-4662
  • Buy this book on publisher's site