, Volume 134, Issue 3, pp 363-403
Date: 05 Oct 2006

Events, Tropes, and Truthmaking

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Abstract

Nominalizations are expressions that are particularly challenging philosophically in that they help form singular terms that seem to refer to abstract or derived objects often considered controversial. The three standard views about the semantics of nominalizations are [1] that they map mere meanings onto objects, [2] that they refer to implicit arguments, and [3] that they introduce new objects, in virtue of their compositional semantics. In the second case, nominalizations do not add anything new but pick up objects that would be present anyway in the semantic structure of a corresponding sentence without a nominalization. In the first and third case, nominalizations in a sense ‘create’ new objects’, enriching the ontology on the basis of the meaning of expressions. I will argue that there is a fourth kind of nominalization which requires a quite different treatment. These are nominalizations that introduce ‘new’ objects, but only partially characterize them. Such nominalizations generally refer to events or tropes. I will explore an account according on which such nominalizations refer to truth makers.