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Words without Objects – Semantics, Ontology, and Logic for Non-Singularity - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Words without Objects: Semantics, Ontology, and Logic for Non-Singularity

Henry Laycock


The book seeks to resolve the so-called ‘problem of mass nouns’ — a problem which cannot be resolved on the basis of a conventional system of logic. It is not, for instance, possible to explicate assertions of the existence of air, oil, or water through the use of quantifiers and variables which take objectual values. The difficulty is attributable to the semantically distinctive status of non-count nouns — nouns which, although not plural, are nonetheless akin to plural nouns in being semantically non-singular. Such are the semantics of a non-singular noun, that there can be no such single th ... More

Keywords: mass noun, non-singularity, stuff, plural noun, singular reference, object, identity, persistence, individuation, variable

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2006 Print ISBN-13: 9780199281718
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2006 DOI:10.1093/0199281718.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Henry Laycock, author
Queen's University, Ontario
Author Webpage