, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 123-146
Date: 28 Feb 2007

It is raining (somewhere)

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Abstract

The received view about meteorological predicates like ‘rain’ is that they carry an argument slot for a location which can be filled explicitly or implicitly. The view assumes that ‘rain’, in the absence of an explicit location, demands that the context provide a specific location. In an earlier article in this journal, I provided a counter-example, viz. a context in which ‘it is raining’ receives a location-indefinite interpretation. On the basis of that example, I argued that when there is tacit references to a location, it takes place for pragmatic reasons and casts no light on the semantics of meteorological predicates. Since then, several authors have reanalysed the counter-example, so as to make it compatible with the standard view. I discuss those attempts and argue that my account is superior.

I am indebted to Luisa Marti, Paul Elbourne, and the participants in my graduate seminar at Harvard University (fall, 2004), especially Pranav Anand, for discussions that led to this paper. Thanks are also due to Philippe Schlenker and, again, to Paul Elbourne for comments on a first draft. A second draft benefitted from comments by Luisa Marti, Eros Corazza, Polly Jacobson, Jason Stanley, and an anonymous referee for this journal who provided exceptionally detailed remarks and suggestions. Those remarks and suggestions led me to expand the paper considerably in response—so much so that the third draft was no longer publishable as a journal article. The present paper corresponds roughly to the first half of the expanded version.