Words without Objects
Resolution of the problem of mass nouns depends on an expansion of our semantic/ontological taxonomy. Semantically, mass nouns are neither singular nor plural; they apply to neither just one object, nor to many objects, at a time. But their deepest kinship links them to the plural. A plural phrase — 'the cats in
Kingston' — does not denote a single plural thing, but merely many distinct things. Just so, 'the water In the lake' does not denote a single aggregate — it is not ONE, but rather MUCH. The world is not the totality of singular objects, plural objects, and mass objects; for there are no plural or mass objects. It is
the totality of single objects and (just) stuff.
Copyright (c) 2021 Henry Laycock
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