The traditional scope theory of intensionality (STI) (see Russell 1905; Montague 1973; Ladusaw 1977; Ogihara 1992, 1996; Stowell 1993) is simple, elegant, and, for the most part, empirically adequate. However, a few quite troubling counterexamples to this theory have lead researchers to propose alternatives, such as positing null situation pronouns (Percus 2000) or actuality operators (Kamp 1971; Cresswell 1990) in the syntax of natural language. These innovative theories do correct the undergeneration of the original scope theory, but at a cost: the situation pronoun and operator theories overgenerate, as argued extensively by Percus (2000) and Keshet (2008). This paper presents new data that supports the STI over other analyses, such as structures where DPs lose their de re readings in positions where syntactic movement is blocked. These data point the way to a new theory of intensionality. This new theory, called split intensionality, is a modification of the STI which aims to solve the problems raised for the original scope theory without overgenerating. The proposal calls for an additional intensional abstraction operator that creates an expression denoting an intension from an expression denoting an extension. When a DP moves to a position above this operator, it is interpreted de re; otherwise it is de dicto. The crucial part of the new proposal is that a DP may move above this operator and yet remain, for instance, below an intentional verb or inside an if-clause. Therefore, a DP within an island for syntactic movement may be de re and yet not move out of the island when the intensional abstraction operator is also within the island.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Abusch D. (1994) The scope of indefinites. Natural Language Semantics 2(2): 83–135
Barwise J., Cooper R. (1981) Generalized quantifiers and natural language. Linguistics and Philosophy 4(2): 159–219
Bäuerle R. (1983) Pragmatischsemantische Aspekte der NP-Interpretation. In: Faust M., Harweg R., Lehfeldt W., Wienold G. (eds) Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, Sprachtypologie und Textlinguistik. Narr, Tübingen, pp 121–131
Büring D. (2005) Binding theory. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
Cresswell M. (1990) Entities and indices. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston
Diesing M. (1992) Indefinites. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA
Donnellan K. (1966) Reference and definite descriptions. Philosophical Review 75(3): 281–304
Fodor, J. (1970). The linguistic description of opaque contents. PhD thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Fox D. (1999) Economy and semantic interpretation. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA
Gazdar G. (1980) A cross-categorial semantics for coordination. Linguistics and Philosophy 3(3): 407–409
Heim I., Kratzer A. (1998) Semantics in generative grammar. Blackwell Publishers, Oxford
Ioup G. (1975) Some universals for quantifier scope. Syntax and Semantics 4: 37–58
Kamp H. (1971) Formal properties of ‘now’. Theoria 37: 227–273
Keenan E. (1993) Natural languages, sortal reducibility and generalized quantifiers. The Journal of Symbolic Logic 58(1): 314–325
Keenan E., Faltz L. (1985) Boolean semantics for natural language. D Reidel Pub Co., Dordrecht
Keshet, E. (2008). Good intensions: Paving two roads to a theory of the de re/de dicto Distinction. PhD thesis, MIT.
Keshet E. (2010a) Possible worlds and wide scope indefinites: A reply to Bäuerle 1983. Linguistic Inquiry 41(4): 692–701
Keshet, E. (2010b). Situation economy. Natural Language Semantics, 18, 385–434. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11050-010-9059-1.
Kratzer A. (1986) Conditionals. Chicago Linguistics Society 22(2): 1–15
Kucerova, I. (2008). Givenness and maximize presupposition. Proceedings of SuB12, Oslo.
Kusumoto K. (2005) On the quantification over times in natural language. Natural Language Semantics 13(4): 317–357
Ladusaw W. (1977) Some problems with tense in PTQ. Texas Linguistic Forum 6: 89–102
Lewis D. (1975) Adverbs of quantification. In: Keenan E.L. (Ed.) Formal semantics of natural language. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 3–15
May, R. (1977). The grammar of quantification. PhD thesis, MIT.
Montague, R. (1970). English as a formal language. In B. Visentini (Ed.), Milan: Edizioni di Comunità. Linguaggi nella Societa e nella Tecnica (pp. 189–223).
Montague R. (1973) The proper treatment of quantification in ordinary English. Approaches to Natural Language 49: 221–242
Ogihara, T. (1992). Temporal reference in English and Japanese. Indiana University Linguistics Club.
Ogihara T. (1996) Tense, attitudes, and scope. Kluwer, Dordrecht
Partee B. (1973) Some structural analogies between tenses and pronouns in English. The Journal of Philosophy 70(18): 601–609
Partee, B. (1987). Noun phrase interpretation and type-shifting principles. In J. Groenendijk, D. de Jongh, & M. Stokho (Eds.), Studies in discourse representation theory and the theory of generalized quantifiers, (Vol. 8, pp. 115–143). Dordrecht: Foris Publications.
Percus O. (2000) Constraints on some other variables in syntax. Natural Language Semantics 8(3): 173–229
Romoli, J., & Sudo, Y. (2009). De re/de dicto ambiguity and presupposition projection. In Sinn und Bedeutung (Vol. 13).
Ross, J. (1967). Constraints on variables in syntax. PhD thesis, MIT.
Russell B. (1905) On denoting. Mind 14(56): 479–493
Sag, I. (1976). Deletion and logical form.
Stowell, T. (1993). Syntax of tense. Ms., UCLA.
Travis, L. (1984). Parameters and effects of word order variation. PhD thesis, MIT.
von Fintel, K., & Heim, I. (2008). Intensional semantics lecture notes. Notes for class taught at MIT.
von Stechow A. (1984) Comparing semantic theories of comparison. Journal of Semantics 3(1–2): 1–77
Wilder, C. (1997). Phrasal movement in LF: De re readings, VP-ellipsis and binding. Proceedings of NELS (Vol. 27, pp. 425–439).
Winter Y. (1996) A unified semantic treatment of singular NP coordination. Linguistics and Philosophy 19(4): 337–391
About this article
Cite this article
Keshet, E. Split intensionality: a new scope theory of de re and de dicto . Linguist and Philos 33, 251–283 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10988-011-9081-x
- De re
- De dicto