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The Unity of Linguistic Meaning$
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John Collins

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199694846

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199694846.001.0001

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Syntax and the creation of objects: towards an explanation of unity

Syntax and the creation of objects: towards an explanation of unity

(p.99) 5 Syntax and the creation of objects: towards an explanation of unity
The Unity of Linguistic Meaning

John Collins

Oxford University Press

We are now in a position to put forward a solution to the combinatorial unity problem that will satisfy our desiderata. I take the solution I shall propose to be distinct from the other extant ‘solutions’, but also to be thoroughly informed by their insights, where appropriate, especially Frege’s understanding that, in some sense, the constituents of a complex must be made for ‘each other’. I also think, going back in time, that the work of Kant offers genuine insight; that will be the first issue broached in this chapter. Thereafter, I shall introduce Merge as an operation that satisfies our three desiderata on an adequate solution. As we shall see, Merge alone will not deliver interpretable unity, but it will be a necessary component. So much will serve as initial justification for the account on offer. The next two chapters will present a range of clarifications and responses to potential objections, all of which will be met with rebuttals.

Keywords:   sets, syntax, merge, composition, concatenation, lexical structure

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