# Thread: When one ascribes truth to a picture one does not really want...

1. ## Re: When one ascribes truth to a picture one does not really want...

Originally Posted by Alexey86
Nor would someone make much sense in the reply without being semantically related to anyone who can help me. So, it has to be anaphoric to some degree at least, doesn't it?
I don't think this is anaphor, strictly speaking, no, but there is some kind of indexical relation, yes. I'll look into it ...

Consider the following:

Do you know anyone who can help me? Yeah, I know someone who can help you.
If you know anyone who can help me, I'd like to see them who can help me.

Clumsiness aside, which of these is preferable/possible to you?
Only the former is possible. someone and someone who can help are identical in reference. You can think of the single word someone as equivalent to someone [who can help].

In the latter, them substitutes for the whole NP, including the relative clause bit.

If the former, then the anyone who can help me parts are not equally monolithic, i.e. it's easier for someone to take the relative clause from anyone splitting thus the monolith up.
Please run that reasoning past me again. I didn't get it.

The latter is ungrammatical, anyway, since them can't function as subject. You apparently mean they, right?
Last edited by jutfrank; 27-Jan-2021 at 19:30.

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## Re: When one ascribes truth to a picture one does not really want...

Originally Posted by jutfrank
Please run that reasoning past me again. I didn't get it.
Sorry, it seems my monolith splitting metaphor was confusing. I'll draw on your explanation:
"You can think of the single word someone as equivalent to someone [who can help]. In the latter, them substitutes for the whole NP, including the relative clause bit."

I totally agree. That's exactly what I'm talking about: of the whole complex object (NP + Relative Clause), only who can help is part of someone's meaning/reference, which allows us to combine them leaving anyone excluded because it's far less specific. In the second example, anyone is, as you noticed, part of them's meaning/reference. That's why we can't take the clause away and add it to them.

So, why is the first anyone who can help me dividable, while the second one isn't? I'm not sure if the following are the exact reasons, but there are two obvious differences between these examples:
1) Two separate utterances/thoughts/points of view vs one utterance/thought/point of view
2) Question vs statement (Do you know anyone who... is far less specific than If you know anyone who...)

Originally Posted by jutfrank
The latter is ungrammatical, anyway, since them can't function as subject. You apparently mean they, right?
Sorry, I don't quite follow. Someone (who can help you) is not the subject of the first sentence either. It's the object.
Last edited by Alexey86; 27-Jan-2021 at 20:48.

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## Re: When one ascribes truth to a picture one does not really want...

Originally Posted by Alexey86
I thought I could either italicize quotations or use quote marks. Was I wrong?
No, that's fine. For long quotes like the one in post #1, you can also leave the text in the normal font and omit the quotation marks if you indent the entire quotation.

4. ## Re: When one ascribes truth to a picture one does not really want...

Poverty is the default human condition. It's prosperity that needs to be explained.
~~~~~~~~Thomas Sowell

It depends on how it's formatted whether you need quote marks or not. (My opinion.)

5. ## Re: When one ascribes truth to a picture one does not really want...

Sorry, I'm trying but still struggling to understand the explanation below. The red bits show my difficulties.

Originally Posted by Alexey86
That's exactly what I'm talking about: of the whole complex object (NP + Relative Clause), only who can help is part of someone's meaning/reference What do you mean by 'only'? What do you mean by 'part' of the meaning?, which allows us to combine them Combine what? leaving anyone excluded I thought you were talking about 'someone'. because it's far less specific.
Someone (who can help you) is not the subject of the first sentence either. It's the object.
Yes. Forget about what I said about them needing to be in the subjective case because that's not true. On reflection, I'm really not sure whether them who can help me is ungrammatical or whether it is grammatical but sounds so bad that it appears not to be. Either way, it isn't something that anyone would ever say, so I really think we can rule it out.

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## Re: When one ascribes truth to a picture one does not really want...

Originally Posted by jutfrank
That's exactly what I'm talking about: of the whole complex object (NP + Relative Clause), only who can help is part of someone's meaning/reference What do you mean by 'only'? What do you mean by 'part' of the meaning?,
As you said above, someone and someone who can help are identical in reference (and in meaning, I would add) in that example. This means even when someone is used alone, who can help you is still an implied part of its meaning. Where does its meaning take this part from? From the previous complex object anyone who can help me. But anyone isn't part of someone's meaning/reference, i.e. anyone who can help me and someone who can help you are not identical in reference, because the former is broader/less specific. That what I mean saying 'someone' takes only the relative clause, leaving 'anyone' excluded. And that's why I consider someone (who can help you) a weak anaphor - it relates to the previous object but shares only part of its meaning and reference. It's still unclear to me why you insist there's no anaphoric reference in that example.

Originally Posted by jutfrank
which allows us to combine them Combine what?

To combine someone and who can help, to say/write them together in the reply. Unlike these two, we cannot combine them and who can help, i.e. them cannot take just part of anyone who can help me's (awch for short) reference because these are identical and them is a strong anaphor. It would be more precise to say, though, them is identical to awch only when the latter has already been mentioned. So we can't replace them with awch because in that case the second awch would be less specific and the whole sentence would become senseless: If you know anyone who can help me, I'd like to see anyone who can help me. Nor can we switch awch with them: If you know them, I'd like to see anyone who can help me. So, awch and them are not identical the way Jane and her are in this example:

If you happen to see Jane, give my best to her = If you happen to see her, give my best to Jane.

Originally Posted by jutfrank
leaving anyone excluded I thought you were talking about 'someone'. because it's far less specific.

I hope I've explained what I mean. I really don't want to confuse you with my explanations more than I already have. I think it's just my inability to find clear formulations. But if you have something to add, I would really appreciate it if you (and other members) share your thoughts on the matter.
Last edited by Alexey86; 29-Jan-2021 at 21:30.

7. ## Re: When one ascribes truth to a picture one does not really want...

Originally Posted by Alexey86
As you said above, someone and someone who can help are identical in reference (and in meaning, I would add) in that example. This means even when someone is used alone, who can help you is still an implied part of its meaning. Where does its meaning take this part from? From the previous complex object anyone who can help me.
Yes. I follow all that.

But anyone isn't part of someone's meaning/reference, i.e. anyone who can help me and someone who can help you are not identical in reference, because the former is broader/less specific.
This is what I don't get. I don't think I see how you're understanding the 'parts' of meaning.

I look at it like this: In the single word response, someone means someone who can help me, yes, but there's nothing intrinsic to the word someone that means 'who can help me'. I'll try to show you what I mean using your idea of parts:

someone [who can help me]

Those are two separate parts. Together they form a whole, which is where the meaning comes from—from the sum of the parts. In the single word response, the blue part is still 'there', as a separate part, but it's left unuttered, for reasons of economy. It isn't that the red part has 'taken on' the meaning of the blue part, it's that the blue part has become implied, in which sense it still has an independent meaning though it is not expressed linguistically.

I'll stop there to check whether you think that I've at least managed to understand your idea about parts and divisibility. If I still haven't understood, please bear with me.

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## Re: When one ascribes truth to a picture one does not really want...

Originally Posted by jutfrank
but there's nothing intrinsic to the word someone that means 'who can help me'.
Of course. I'm only talking about someone's meaning in my example.

Originally Posted by jutfrank
someone [who can help me]
Those are two separate parts.
Agree.

Originally Posted by jutfrank
Together they form a whole, which is where the meaning comes from—from the sum of the parts. In the single word response, the blue part is still 'there', as a separate part, but it's left unuttered, for reasons of economy. It isn't that the red part has 'taken on' the meaning of the blue part, it's that the blue part has become implied, in which sense it still has an independent meaning though it is not expressed linguistically.
The part in green is the point of confusion. The meaning comes from the sum of the parts, yes. But if the part in blue isn't intrinsic to someone, where did it come from initially? Obviously, it was borrowed from the first object anyone [who can help me], without which the part in blue wouldn't have appeared at all. That's why I call someone who can help you, the second complex object, weak anaphor - part of its meaning comes from the antecedent.
Last edited by Alexey86; 30-Jan-2021 at 00:07.

9. ## Re: When one ascribes truth to a picture one does not really want...

Originally Posted by Alexey86
When one ascribes truth to a picture, one does not really want to ascribe a property which belongs to this picture altogether
independently of other things, but one always has something quite different in mind and one wants to say that that picture
corresponds in some way to this thing.
(G. Frege, The Thought: A Logical Inquiry)

The first one is indefinite and equal to someone. The rest one's are definite (anaphorically) and can be replaced by (s)he or this person. If I replaced the first one with a person/a man and continued repeating this indefinite NP, it would be a new/some other person every time, which wouldn't make sense. So I'd have to continue with this person/this man/he. But one can be used repeatedly maintaining anaphoric reference.

Do someone, somebody and something share the same feature?
We usually say you (less formal) or we (more formal), not one (awkward, clunky, stiff).

Without that comma, it's a picture you don't really want.

Avoid (s)he and he/she. There are enough better alternatives.

I don't see why using more than one noun to refer to the picture's observer would be confusing. Maybe it is in German.

10. ## Re: When one ascribes truth to a picture one does not really want...

Originally Posted by Alexey86
Could we, then, discuss this example: This realization led students to a question that struck them as even more urgent: How, then, would one determine which view was right? Hunger for this kind of learning must come from the student. If one wants an answer, one must find it oneself. A teacher can only prepare the way.
(Huffington Post)
As I said: awkward, clunky, stiff.

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