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Re: [ontolog-forum] On dyads and triads

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Simon Spero <sesuncedu@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2013 10:03:54 -0400
Message-id: <CADE8KM5sG67G+hNP=DgL3eD=cnWmrA3SYvsZW7zezt1vtgmQfA@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On Sat, Mar 30, 2013 at 2:04 AM, John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On 3/29/2013 5:48 PM, Simon Spero wrote:
> I don't give a damn what Pierce said.

I don't blame you.  Questions about which authority said what are interesting for historical reasons.  But by themselves, they don't prove anything.
For example, every act of giving must have an animate agent, an animate recipient, and a theme, which could be anything of any type. 
The point I was trying to make in  that paragraph was subtly  different; hence the reference to McCawley: 

Following McCawley's analysis of english sentences without overt grammatical subjects*, I don't give a damn what Pierce said.  I won't give a damn tomorrow, which is another day, and I wouldn't give a damn were I north of the Mason-Dixon line.  

"English Sentences Without Overt Grammatical Subjects" [Parental Advisory - Explicit Content] examined several constructions in English where, contrary to then prevailing transformational theory, did not appear to have an underlying subject in the deep structure. 

By analogy, in:

   (1)  I don't give a damn (about) what Pierce said.

 it is hard to infer an elided recipient of what the giver (the utterer) is giving (a damn about what Pierce said).  

Similarly in:

   (2)    I give up.
   (3)    I give up (all hope of understanding this subject).
  (3a) *I give up (all hope of understanding this subject) to Mary. 

There is an an animate agent, and  an explicit or elided theme, but as the unacceptability of (3a) suggests, there is no recipient. 


   (4)  This beautiful weather gives me a happy feeling.
   (5)  This beautiful weather gives a happy feeling to me. 

We have an animate recipient, but do not have an animate agent (unless you wish to interpret the construction as assigning animacy metaphorically to this beautiful weather ). 
Slightly more complex are:  

   (6)    I give in. 
   (7)    I give in to sin.

but they might be construed similarly to (2) and (3). 

There is, of course, the canonical form 

   (8)  Kim gave Sandy the ball. 
   (9) Kim gave the ball to Sandy. 
In these constructions,  there is a common core semantics, that one or more things gain or lose something.   

In (2,3) the agent is losing hope, but there is nothing that gains it. 
In (4,5) the recipient is gaining a happy feeling, but the beautiful weather loses nothing.  
in (8,9) the agent is losing a ball, and the recipient is gaining it. 

The presence of this weak but common core suggests that these are different senses/micro-senses of the same  give ;  this presents some challenges to the mandatory requirements.

Also, note that when trying to formulate identity criteria for Events, Quine suggested, and Davidson partially accepted, the necessity of the two identical events occupying the same regions   of space and time/space-time. If this is true, a case must be made for these identity criteria being second-class properties of an  event.  

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