Internalist semantics and the grammatical construction of individuals
Paolo Acquaviva (University College Dublin),
Our use of language presupposes a domain of entities, but this domain
is at least in part a result of a conceptualization encoded in language.
How to analyze linguistic conceptualization without falling into a
simplistic Sapir-Whorf relativism? I address this challenge by
distinguishing a basic domain of abstract entities, each named by a
noun, from the domain of discourse referents, denoted by DPs. In
between, grammar provides a template organizing part-structural
information in different ways across languages. This explains a cluster
of phenomena relative to kind-interpretation, number, and countability,
unifies the analysis of nouns with that of names, and makes possible a
predictive theory of possible nouns in natural language. In this way,
lexical semantics can be integrated with a “grounded” approach to
cognition, as the form for representing the substance provided by the
mental recreation of experience.