Generics and the Ways of Normality
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CitationNickel, Bernhard. 2008. Generics and the ways of normality. Linguistics and Philosophy 31(6): 629-648.
AbstractI contrast two approaches to the interpretation of generics such as ‘ravens are black:’ majority-based views, on which they are about what is the case most of the time, and inquiry-based views, on which they are about a feature we focus on in inquiry. I argue that majority-based views face far more systematic counterexamples than has previously been supposed. They cannot account for generics about kinds with multiple characteristic properties, such as ‘elephants live in Africa and Asia.’ I then go on to sketch an inquiry-based view.
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