Category Mistakes

Category Mistakes

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Description

Category mistakes are sentences such as 'Green ideas sleep furiously', 'Saturday is in bed', and The theory of relactivity is eating breakfast. Such sentences strike most speakers as highly infelicitous but it is a challenge to explain precisely why they are so. Ofra Magidor addresses this challenge, while providing a comprehensive discussion of the various treatments of category mistakes in both philosophy and linguistics.

The phenomenon of category mistakes is particularly interesting because a plausible case can be made for explaining it in terms of each of syntax, semantics, and pragmatics-making it a fruitful case for exploring the relations between, and nature of, these three fundamental realms of language. Category Mistakes follows this division, discussing four types of accounts: the syntactic approach to the phenomenon, two distinct semantic approaches, and the pragmatic approach. Magidor argues
that the first three ought to be rejected, and addresses the challenge by developing and defending a novel version of the pragmatic approach: the presuppositional account of category mistakes.

Ofra Magidor is CUF Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Oxford, and Fairfax Tutor and Fellow in Philosophy at Balliol College. She is also a member of the Faculty of Linguistics, Philology, and Phonetics at the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on Philosophy of Logic and Language and related issues in Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Philosophy of Mathematics. Previously, she was Junior Research Fellow at Queens college, Oxford. She holds a BPhil and DPhil in Philosophy from the
University of Oxford, and a BSc in Philosophy, Mathematics, and Computer Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 184 pages
  • 153 x 225 x 18mm | 366g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New
  • 0199572976
  • 9780199572977
  • 2,274,801

Table of contents

1. Introduction ; 2. The Syntactic Approach ; 3. The meaninglessness view ; 4. The MBT view ; 5. The Pragmatic Approach ; References ; Index
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Review quote

In place of the grand theoretical constructions and destructions of earlier eras, Magidor presents a careful, even-handed consideration of the four main explanations one might offer for what is wrong with cross-categorial sentences: that they are syntactically ill-formed, that they are semantically meaningless, that they have meaning but lack truth-values, and that they are pragmatically infelicitous. Along the way, she synthesizes discussions from linguistics,
logic, and the philosophy of language, abstracting away from a host of potentially overwhelming details to present key ideas clearly and accurately. * Elisabeth Camp, Mind * Magidor's volume sets out a broad variety of accounts grappling with the phenomenon of category mistakes in a manner that should appeal to both philosophers and linguists interested in issues of semantics and its formal treatment...Magidor's lucid and well-structured characterization of approaches and her subsequent arguments in favour of a broadly presupposition-based framework offer an excellent basis for anyone who wishes to take the discussion further. * John A. Bateman, Philosophical Quarterly * excellent, short, clearly focused. * Manuel Garcia-Carpintero, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews *
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About Ofra Magidor

Ofra Magidor studied philosophy, mathematics, and computer science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and completed a BPhil (2004) and DPhil (2007) in philosophy at the University of Oxford. Between 2005 and 2007 she was a Junior Research Fellow at Queen's College, Oxford, and since 2007 she has held a tutorial fellowship and CUF lectureship in philosophy at Balliol College and the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on philosophy of logic and language,
as well as related issues in metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of mathematics.
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