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Complex demonstratives, hidden arguments, and presupposition
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5141-3134
2021 (English)In: Synthese, ISSN 0039-7857, E-ISSN 1573-0964, Vol. 198, no 4, p. 2865-2900Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Standard semantic theories predict that non-deictic readings for complex demonstratives should be much more widely available than they in fact are. If such readings are the result of a lexical ambiguity, as Kaplan (in: Almog, Perry, Wettstein (eds) Themes from Kaplan, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1977) and others suggest, we should expect them to be available wherever a definite description can be used. The same prediction follows from ‘hidden argument’ theories like the ones described by King (Complex Demonstratives: a Quantificational Account, MIT Press, Cambridge, 2001) and Elbourne (Situations and Individuals, MIT Press, Cambridge, 2005). Wolter (That’s That; the Semantics and Pragmatics of Demonstrative Noun Phrases. Ph.D. thesis, University of California at Santa Cruz, 2006), however, has shown that complex demonstratives admit non-deictic interpretations only when a precise set of structural constrains are met. In this paper, I argue that Wolter’s results, properly understood, upend the philosophical status quo. They fatally undermine the ambiguity theory and demand a fundamental rethinking of the hidden argument approach.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2021. Vol. 198, no 4, p. 2865-2900
Keywords [en]
Complex demonstratives, Definite descriptions, Semantics, Pragmatics, Presupposition
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-162616DOI: 10.1007/s11229-019-02250-5ISI: 000641858800002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85066888454OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-162616DiVA, id: diva2:1345460
Available from: 2019-08-25 Created: 2019-08-25 Last updated: 2023-03-24Bibliographically approved

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Nowak, Ethan

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