Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on December 1, 2008
This is an immensely stimulating book, and I can do nothing better than to echo Ostertag's assessment in the editorial review. The richness and complexity - and the ingenuity of some of the approaches - of this book makes it required reading for anyone working on the topics covered - or topics related to the ones covered - in this book.

Part of what makes this book so refreshing is Stanley's defense of a systematic approach to semantic content, i.e. "there is no gap between the linguistically determined content of a sentence, relative to a context, and the proposition it intuitively seems to express", in opposition to the currently popular free enrichment or anti-systemtaticity-friendly approaches of radical contextualists such as relevance theorists on the one hand and semantic minimalists on the other (both of which could somewhat derogatively but not entirely unjustifiably be accused of "goddidit" approaches to the determination of content).

One nitpick stems from the fact that the book consists, in part, of already published essays, and unfortunately the exact account of the nominal restriction theory (that quantifier domain restrictions are signaled by covert elements) argued for in the early chapters has, apparently, been modified since - unfortunate in the sense that the claim that the restrictor co-habits a node with the nominal, which is argued for in the earlier chapters, is apparently rejected in favor of an account where the restrictor occupies a separate node. But then it is unclear how this view avoids the explicit counterarguments considered in those earlier chapters. It is particularly unfortunate since the nominal restriction theory is the basis for many of the solutions to problems discussed later on.

Despite that, this is a stunningly resourceful book, and a pleasure to read. Strongly recommended (One further nitpick: the cover design utilizes the common trick of being based on a selection from the text - it is unfortunate, then, that the cover was designed (apparently) before the main text was proofread; although I guess only pedants would notice).
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