David Corfield
Event types

“…[i]t shows that when we call anything Real, we mean always to affirm it, though in different senses according to the different forms which it assumes, but one or other of which it must necessarily assume, and of which no one is reducible to or contained in the other. For we never can get an Event out of simple Being, the reality which belongs to Things, namely Being or Existence, never belongs to Events - they do not exist but occur; again a Proposition neither exists like things nor occurs like events; that its meaning even obtains like a relation, can only be said if the things exist of which it predicates a relation; in itself, apart from all “applications which may be made of it, the reality of a proposition means that it holds or is valid and that its opposite does not hold. Lotze (1884), 439.

We have undoubtedly a conception of affirmation or position in an extremely general sense, which meets us in various fields of enquiry, and for which languages, dealing as they do in their early stages with highly complex and concrete notions, and not with the simplest elements of thought, have commonly no abstract term which expresses it with the requisite purity. But it would not be wise to invent a technical term to represent it, the meaning of which would always be doubtful, because it could never come naturally to the lips or to the thoughts of any one; the very term position which is frequently used for it suggests by its etymological form the entirely alien sense of an act, or operation of establishing, to the execution of which that state of affirmation which we wish to express then seems to owe its being. It is best however to keep to ordinary speech, and select a word which can be shown to express in common usage, approximately at all events and unmistakably, the thought with which we are concerned. We may express it in our own language by the term Reality. For we call a thing Real which is, in contradistinction to another which is not; an event Real which occurs or has occurred, in contradistinction to that which does not occur ; a relation Real which obtains, as opposed to one which does not obtain; lastly we call a proposition Really true which holds or is valid as opposed to one of which the validity is still doubtful. This use of language is intelligible ; it shows that when we call anything Real, we mean always to affirm it, though in different senses according to the different forms which it assumes, but one or other of which it must necessarily assume, and of which no one is reducible to or contained in the other. For we never can get an Event out of simple Being, the reality which belongs to Things, namely Being or Existence, never belongs to Events they do not exist but occur; again a Proposition neither exists like things nor occurs like events ; that its meaning even obtains like a relation, can only be said if the things exist of which it predicates a relation ; in itself, apart from all applications which may be made of it, the reality of a proposition means that it holds or is valid and that its opposite does not hold.

Tension between univocality of :, and equivocality of type membership. Like elements of sets as the same but different, some adjunction?

(P 291 hov ) Need to look at Davidson on events + literature (see ZL15)

event-structure analysis.

Four Vendler classes, basic event types: activities, accomplishments, states and achievements.

  • a. activity: Manner of motion verbs (run, walk) and surface contact verbs (sweep, wipe) denote activities of different types: activities happen in different ways (manners), and they do not necessarily cause any change of state.

  • b: state: Verbs like sleep and know denote states — situations that exist over time in a static fashion.

  • c: achievement: Verbs like find out and discover denote achievements, which involve an instantaneous change of state, and do not specify the cause of this change of state.

  • d/e. accomplishment: Verbs of directed motion (go, come) and verbs of change of state (break, crack) denote accomplishments — activities (with specified manners or without them) resulting in some change of state.

Rappaport-Hovav and Levin (1998) represent this inventory of basic event types in the following fashion (the event type of accomplishment is represented in two versions, with and without a specification of the manner of the causing activity):

  • a. Activity: [x ACT〈manner〉 (y)]
  • b. State: [x 〈STATE〉]
  • c. Achievement: [BECOME x 〈STATE〉]
  • d. Accomplishment: X ACT〈manner〉] CAUSE [BECOME y 〈STATE〉]?]
  • e. Accomplishment: [x CAUSE BECOME y 〈STATE〉]

Accomplishments can’t be expanded, so ‘Kelly broke the dishes off the table’ is wrong, whereas ‘Kelly brushed the crumbs off the table’ is fine.

“If an action is named after a thing, it involves a canonical use of the thing”

scalar/nonscalar verbs

Malka Rappaport Hovav, Lexicalized meaning and the internal temporal structure of events, pdf questions Vendler’s classes:

  • warm, ripen, fall, ascend, cool

  • play (in the sand), scribble (on paper), flutter (in the wind), exercise, tickle, writhe, scream, laugh, rain

“There are three kinds of scales recognized in the literature: property scales, path scales (scales of position along a path) and volume/extent scales. Property scales are associated with change of state verbs such as lengthen, shorten, dim, open, close, widen etc. Path scales, which indicate the position of a theme along a path, are associated with verbs of directed motion, such as ascend, descend, enter, exit, come and go. Extent scales are associated with what are often called incremental theme verbs such as read, eat and build.”

Weyl

The phenomena must be brought under the heading of concepts; they must be united into classes determined by typical characteristics. Thus the causal judgment, “When I put my hand in the fire I burn myself,” concerns a typical performance described by the words “to put one’s hand in the fire,” not an individual act in which the motion of the hand and that of the flames is determined in the minutest detail. The causal relation therefore does not exist between events but between types of events. First of all—and this point does not seem to have been sufficiently emphasized by Hume—generally valid relations must be isolated by decomposing the one existing world into simple, always recurring elements. The formula “dissecare naturam [to dissect nature]” was already set up by Bacon. (Mind and Nature, p. 56)

Inferences

  • Kim was in London but has gone to Paris. Therefore, Kim is not in London.

State change persists.

References

Pietroski, Paul. ‘Actions, Adjuncts, and Agency’. Mind 107 (1998): 73–111. ——. ‘Small Verbs, Complex Events: Analyticity without Synonymy’. Chomsky and His Critics. Eds. Louise Antony and Norbert Hornstein. Oxford: Blackwell, 2003. 179–214

Travis, Lisa. ‘Event Structure in Syntax’. Events as Grammatical Objects. Eds. Carol Tenny and James Pustejovsky. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications, 2000. 145–85.

Parsons, Terence. Events in the Semantics of English. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1990.

Wolff, Phillip. ‘Direct Causation in the Linguistic Coding and Individuation of Causal Events’. Cognition 88 (2003): 1–48.

Helen Steward 2015

“the canonical way of referring to [activities or processes] is via expressions that are dependent on the progressive aspect of the verb forms” (115)

autotelic, allotelic

Mourelatos 1978 ‘Events, Processes and States’, Ling and Phil, 2, 415-34.

Last revised on December 8, 2020 at 03:42:08. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.