Referential and quantificational indefinites
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
The formal semantics that we have proposed for definite and indefinite descriptions analyzes them both as variable-binding operators and as referring terms. It is the referential analysis which makes it possible to account for the facts outlined in Section 2, e.g. for the purely ‘instrumental’ role of the descriptive content; for the appearance of unusually wide scope readings relative to other quantifiers, higher predicates, and island boundaries; for the fact that the island-escaping readings are always equivalent to maximally wide scope quantifiers; and for the appearance of violations of the identity conditions on variables in deleted constituents. We would emphasize that this is not a random collection of observations. They cohere naturally with each other, and with facts about other phrases that are unambigously referential.
We conceded at the outset of this paper that the referential use of an indefinite noun phrase does not, by itself, motivate the postulation of a referential interpretation. Our argument has been that the behavior of indefinites in complex sentences cannot be economically described, and certainly cannot be explained, unless a referential interpretation is assumed. It could be accounted for in pragmatic terms only if the whole theory of scope relations and of conditions on deletion could be eliminated from the semantics and incorporated into a purely pragmatic theory. But this seems unlikely.
- Barwise, J.: 1981, ‘Scenes and Other Situations’, Journal of Philosophy LXXVIII, 369–397.
- Barwise, J. and R.Cooper: 1981a, ‘Generalized Quantifiers and Natural Languages’, Linguistics and Philosophy 4, 159–219.
- Barwise, J. and J.Perry: 1981, ‘Semantic Innocence and Uncompromising Situations’, Midwest Studies in Philosophy VI, 387–403.
- Barwise, J. and I. A.Sag: 1980, Stanford Working Papers in Semantics, Vol. 1 (Stanford University, California).
- Chastain, C.: 1975, ‘Reference and Context’, in K.Gunderson (ed.), Language, Mind and Knowledge, Vol. 7 of the Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science (University of Minnesota press, Minneapolis).
- Chomsky, N.: 1975, ‘Questions of Form and Interpretation’, Linguistic Analysis 1, 75–109.
- Cooper, R.: 1979, ‘Variable Binding and Relative Clauses’, in F.Guenthner and S. J.Schmidt (eds.), Formal Semantics and Pragmatics for Natural Languages (Reidel, Dordrecht, Holland).
- Cushing, S.: 1976, The Formal Semantics of Quantification (doctoral dissertation, UCLA, reproduced by the Indiana University Linguistics Club).
- Dennett, D. C.: 1981, ‘Beyond Belief’, in A.Woodfield (ed.), Thought and Object (Oxford University Press, Oxford, England).
- Donnellan, K.: 1966, ‘Reference and Definite Descriptions’, Philosophical Review 75, 281–304.
- Donnellan, K.: 1968, ‘Putting Humpty Dumpty Together Again’, Philosophical Review 77, 203–215.
- Enç, M.: 1981, ‘Tense Without Scope: An Analysis of Nouns As Indexicals’, (University of Wisconsin, Madison).
- Fodor, J. D.: 1970, The Linguistic Description of Opaque Contexts, Ph.D. dissertation, MIT (Published by Garland Publishing, Inc., New York, 1979).
- Fodor, J. D.: 1982, ‘The Mental Representation of Quantifiers’, in S.Peters and E.Saarinen (eds.), Processes, Beliefs and Questions (Reidel, Dordrecht, Holland).
- Hilbert, D. and P.Bernays: 1939, Grundlagen der Mathematik, Vol. II (Springer, Berlin).
- Jespersen, V.: 1931, A Modern English Grammar on Historical Principles, Part IV, Syntax, Third Volume (Heidelberg, Carl Winters Universitätsbuch handlung).
- Kaplan, D.: (ms.), ‘Demonstratives’ (unpublished manuscript, UCLA).
- Kroch, A.: 1974, The Semantics of Scope in English, Ph.D. dissertatation, MIT (Published by Garland Publishing, Inc., New York, 1979).
- Lakoff, G.: 1970, ‘Repartee’, Foundations of Language 7, 389–422.
- May, R.: 1977, The Grammar of Quantification, doctoral dissertation, MIT (reproduced by the Indiana University Linguistics Club).
- Morgan, J.: 1973, Presuppostion and the Representation of Meaning, Ph.D. dissertation (University of Chicago).
- Nunberg, G.: 1977, The Pragmatics of Reference, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, C.U.N.Y. Graduate Center (distributed by Indiana University Linguistics Club).
- Partee, B. H.: 1972, ‘Opacity, Coreference, and Pronouns’, in D.Davidson and G.Harman (eds.), Semantics of Natural Language (D. Reidel, Dordrecht, Holland).
- Perry, J.: 1980, ‘A Problem About Continued Belief’, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 61, 317–332.
- Postal, P. M.: 1974, ‘On Certain Ambiguities’, Linguistic Inquiry 5, 367–424.
- Prince, E.: 1981, ‘On the Inferencing of Indefinite-this NP's’, in A.Joshi, I. A.Sag and B. L.Webber (eds.), Linguistic Structure and Discourse Setting (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England).
- Reichenbach, H.: 1947, Elements of Symbolic Logic, (Macmillan, New York).
- Rodman, R.: 1976, ‘Scope Phenomena, ‘Movement Transformations’ and Montague Grammar’, in B. H.Partee (ed.), Montague Grammar (Academic Press, New York), pp. 165–176.
- Quine, W. V. O.: 1966, ‘Quantifiers and Propositional Attitudes’, in W. V. O. Quine, Ways of Paradox (Random House, New York).
- Sadock, J.: 1975, ‘The Soft Interpretive Underbelly of Generative Semantics’, in Cole, P. and J.Morgan (eds.), Speech Acts, Vo. 3 of the Syntax and Semantics series (Academic Press, New York).
- Sag. I. A.: 1976a, ‘A Logical Theory of Verb Phrase Deletion’, in S. Mufwene et al. (eds.), Papers from the Twelfth Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society (University of Chicago).
- Sag, I. A.: 1976b, Deletion and Logical Form, Ph.D. dissertation, MIT (Published by Garland Publishing, Inc., New York, 1980).
- Sag, I. A.: 1980, ‘Formal Semantics and Extralinguistic Context’, in P.Cole (ed.), Radical Pragmatics, Vol. 13 of the Syntax and Semantics series (Academic Press, New York).
- Sag, I. A.: 1981, ‘Partial Variable Assignment Functions, Verb Phrase Ellipsis, and the Dispensability of Logical Form’, unpublished manuscript, Stanford University.
- Stern, J.: 1970, Metaphor as Demonstrative: A Formal Semantics for Demonstratives and Metaphors, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation (Columbia University).
- Strawson, P. F.: 1964, ‘Identifying Reference and Truth-values’, Theoria 30, 96–118.
- Thompson, S. A.: 1971, ‘The Deep Structure of Relative Clauses’, in C. J.Fillmore and D. T.Langendoen (eds.), Studies in Linguistic Semantics (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York).
- Vanlehn, K.: 1978, ‘Determining the Scope of English Quantifiers, (Technical report, Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, MIT).
- Williams, E.: 1977, ‘Discourse and Logical Form’, Linguistic Inquiry 8, 101–140.
- Wilson, G.: 1978, ‘On Definite and Indefinite Descriptions’, Philosophical Review LXXXVII, 48–76.
- Wittgenstein, L.: 1953, Philosophical Investigations, transl. by G. E. M. Anscombe (Blackwell, Oxford).
- Referential and quantificational indefinites
Linguistics and Philosophy
Volume 5, Issue 3 , pp 355-398
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Kluwer Academic Publishers
- Additional Links