[lit-ideas] Re: Ownership and the possessive case

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 6 May 2009 15:32:53 EDT

In a message dated 5/6/2009 3:02:35 P.M.  Eastern Daylight Time, 
rpaul@xxxxxxxx writes:
'I broke my finger' entails 'I  broke a finger,' 

Too true.

The page is 38, I think of  WOW. Grice's utterance is

"I broke a finger yesterday". The yesterday  will provide more exact google 
hits if one tries.

He refers to this as  'reverse implicature' I think.

as Opposed to

"I've been sitting in  a car all day"

-- no implicature: "my car"

-----  versus,

"Jones is meeting a woman this evening" -- not "his"  woman.


Grice notes:

"the speaker has failed to be  specific in a way
in which he might have been expected to
be  specific, with the consequence that it is
likely to be assumed that he is not  in a 
position to be specific"

cfr. Geary, "I love a  wife".

Grice asks, 'why'. He provides an explanation in terms of  usefulness:

Variations of his example being:

"I found a hole in a  roof"
"I found a hole in _my_ roof"

(Grice uses 'my roof' --  which is relevant here as the mark of the 
_possessive_ but his analysis is more  simply understood in terms of 

"one  would NOT lend a sympathetic ear
to a  philosopher who suggested that there
are  _three_ *senses* of the form of
expression,  'an x' "

-- which he goes on to expand.

The way to go is admit,  "(Ex)" as the _only_ sense and leaving up to the 
intelligence of the addressee  who figure out whether something else has been 

My  transference of the cases of 'indefinite' pronoun [or article] to 
'possessive'  pronoun is all my own, mostly. 

But I never understood, 'definite  article', either:

"the queen  of England is charming"

does entail there is a unique queen.  But

"the three stooges are  silly"

entails there is a unique _trio_?

Quine played with (1x),  (2x), (3x), i.e. numerically quantified 
expressions, but they evade me as to how  can they be _the_ three stooges, i.e. 
_the_ and _three_.

Note that  "I broke the finger" sounds odd if you happen, as most people 
do, to have 20 of  them.

Perhaps the wisest were not the Italians but the Romans who did  without 
articles _simpliciter_.



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