The Genealogy of Disjunction
This is a comprehensive study of the English word or, and the logical operators variously proposed to present its meaning. Although there are indisputably disjunctive uses of or in English, it is a mistake to suppose that logical disjunction represents its core meaning. Or is descended from the Anglo-Saxon word meaning second, a form which survives in such expressions as "every other day." Its disjunctive uses arise through metalinguistic applications of an intermediate adverbial meaning which is conjunctive rather than disjunctive in character. These conjunctive uses have puzzled philosophers and logicians, and have been discussed extensively under such headings as "free choice permission." This study examines the textbook myths that have clouded our understanding of how or and other "logical" vocabulary comes to have something approaching its logical meaning in natural languages. It considers the various historical conceptions of disjunction and its place in logic from the Stoics to the present day.
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accept adverbial alternand alternative anaphoric and-lists argument assertion C(ml claim clause coffee conditional sentence conjunctive reading conjunctively distributive connective Consider construal construction context contributes conversationally interchangeable deontic logic discourse discourse-adverbial disjunction is true disjunctively distributive distinction distributive or-lists distributive properties English environments equivalent example exclusive disjunction exclusive sense explanation expression fact false first-order logic fitou formal function grammatical heavier idiom if-clause implicature implies inclusive inference instances Jennifer Jules junctive Latin least linguistic logicians Mary matter meaning modal natural language negation notion noun phrase occurrence particular permission philosophical possible predicate preference propositional calculus propositional conjunction propositional disjunction propositional logic puzzle quantifier question represent representation require scope seems semantic shiitakes sometimes sort statement Stoic substitution suggest surprised than-scope then-clause things tion tive truth conditions truth-functional undemonstrable understanding understood undistributive universal quantifier valid verb vocabulary whole sentences word yawl