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Language and ontological emergence.

Miller, J.T.M. (2017) 'Language and ontological emergence.', Philosophica., 91 . pp. 105-143.


Providing empirically supportable instances of ontological emergence is notoriously difficult. Typically, the literature has focused on two possible sources. The first is the mind and consciousness; the second is within physics, and more specifically certain quantum effects. In this paper, I wish to suggest that the literature has overlooked a further possible instance of emergence, taken from the special science of linguistics. In particular, I will focus on the property of truth-evaluability, taken to be a property of sentences as created by the language faculty within human minds (or brains). The claim will not be as strong as to suggest that the linguistic data and theories prove emergence. Rather the dialectical aim here is to say that we have some good reasons (even if not conclusive reasons) to think that the property is emergent.

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Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:29 July 2020
Date of first online publication:06 February 2018
Date first made open access:29 July 2020

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