Barry Schein

Barry Schein is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Southern California and the author of Plurals and Events (MIT Press).

  • 'And'

    'And'

    Conjunction Reduction Redux

    Barry Schein

    A bold argument that “and” always means “&,” the truth-functional sentential connective.

    In this book, Barry Schein argues that “and” is always the sentential logical connective with the same, one, meaning. “And” always means “&,” across the varied constructions in which it is tokened in natural language. Schein examines the constructions that challenge his thesis, and shows that the objections disappear when these constructions are translated into Eventish, a neo-Davidsonian event semantics, and, enlarged with Cinerama Semantics, a vocabulary for spatial orientation and navigation. Besides rescuing “and” from ambiguity, Eventish and Cinerama Semantics solve general puzzles of grammar and meaning unrelated to conjunction, revealing the book's central thesis in the process: aspects of meaning mistakenly attributed to “and” are discovered to reflect neighboring structures previously unseen and unacknowledged.

    Schein argues that Eventish and Cinerama Semantics offer a fundamental revision to clause structure and what aspects of meaning are represented therein. Eventish is distinguished by four features: supermonadicity, which enlarges verbal decomposition so that every argument relates to its own event; descriptive event anaphora, which replaces simple event variables with silent descriptive pronouns; adverbialization, which interposes adverbials derived from the descriptive content of every DP; and AdrPs, which replace all NPs with Address Phrases that locate what nominals denote within scenes or frames of reference.

    With 'And,' Schein rehabilitates an old rule of transformational, generative grammar, answering the challenges to it exhaustively and meticulously.

    • Hardcover $75.00 £58.00
  • Plurals and Events

    Plurals and Events

    Barry Schein

    Barry Schein proposes combining a second-order treatment of plurals with Donald Davidson's suggestion that there are positions for reference to events in ordinary predicates in order to account for several of the more puzzling features of plurals without invoking "plural objects," with its attendant metaphysics, and also provide an absolute truth-theoretic characterization of the semantics of sentences with plurals in them.

    How do we make sense of sentences with plural noun phrases in them? In Plurals and Events, Barry Schein proposes combining a second-order treatment of plurals with Donald Davidson's suggestion that there are positions for reference to events in ordinary predicates in order to account for several of the more puzzling features of plurals without invoking "plural objects," with its attendant metaphysics, and also provide an absolute truth-theoretic characterization of the semantics of sentences with plurals in them. Schein's highly original argument should have significant impact on how natural-language semantics is done, with repercussions for philosophy and logic. The book opens with foundational arguments that the logical language should have four major features: reduction to singular predication via a Davidsonian logical form, amereology of events, a logical syntax that allows the constituents of a Davidsonian analysis to be predicated of distinct events and separated from one another by other logical elements, and descriptive anaphors that cross-refer to the events described by antecedent clauses. A semantics for plurality and quantification is developed in the remaining chapters, which address some of the empirical and formal questions raised by the variety of interpretations in which plurals and quantifiers participate.

    • Hardcover $70.00 £54.00