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Just what is it that makes Travis's examples so different, so appealing?

Hansen, N. ORCID: (2018) Just what is it that makes Travis's examples so different, so appealing? In: The Philosophy of Charles Travis: Language, Thought, and Perception. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198783916

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Odd and memorable examples are a distinctive feature of Charles Travis’s work: cases involving squash balls, soot-covered kettles, walls that emit poison gas, faces turning puce, ties made of freshly cooked linguine, and people grunting when punched in the solar plexus all figure in his arguments. One of Travis’s examples, involving a pair of situations in which the leaves of a Japanese maple tree are painted green, has even spawned its own literature consisting of attempts to explain the context sensitivity of color adjectives (“green”, e.g.). For Travis, these examples play a central role in his arguments for occasion-sensitivity, which he takes to be a pervasive feature of how we understand natural language. But how, exactly, do these examples work? My aims in this paper are to put Travis’s examples under the microscope, using recent experimental studies of Travis-style cases to raise worries about the way Travis’s cases are informally presented, and then to show how his examples can be redesigned to address those worries.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > Philosophy
ID Code:77448
Publisher:Oxford University Press

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