Generics and Conceptualizations
Received: Oct 31, 2019 ; Revised: Dec 05, 2019 ; Accepted: Dec 18, 2019
Published Online: Dec 31, 2019
Generics have been studied vigorously over the past few decades, mostly by formal linguists and philosophers. As is well known, there are two representative formal approaches toward generics: majority-based and normalcy-based approaches. Both approaches have been met with criticism but continue to undergo revisions. In contrast, Leslie (2007a,2007b; 2008; 2012; 2017) proposes a cognition-based approach arguing against the majority- and normalcy-based approaches. She proposes that generics express our most primitive and fundamental generalizations and are non-quantificational. Thus, the main purpose of this paper is to propose genericity as a semantic, pragmatic, and even cognitive phenomenon, arguing that generics should be accounted for through cognitive conceptualizations. It will also be proposed that the generic operator is a quasi-universal quantifier, in contrast to both the formal and cognitive approaches. This position will be supported by experimental results.