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The Philosophy of Universal Grammar$
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Wolfram Hinzen and Michelle Sheehan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199654833

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654833.001.0001

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Deriving the formal ontology of language

Deriving the formal ontology of language

(p.117) 4 Deriving the formal ontology of language
The Philosophy of Universal Grammar

Wolfram Hinzen

Michelle Sheehan

Oxford University Press

In Chapter 4, we derive formal-ontological distinctions in the objects we refer to in language from the grammatical dynamics in which such acts of reference are configured. The contention is that ontological distinctions like that between an action and an object, or an object and a fact are not material but formal distinctions. The availability of such a system of reference needs to be explained. Grammar organizes the forms of reference in question. In this sense, formal-ontological distinctions are, in essence, grammatical distinctions, and the world as characterized by such distinctions is a grammaticalized world, with important consequences for the relation between grammar and thought. The chapter proceeds by expanding Longobardi’s Topological Mapping Theory for nominal reference to clausal reference, and then to deictic reference.

Keywords:   Topological Mapping Theory, grammar of reference, deixis, factivity, rigidity

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