From the specific to the singular

John Hawthorne and David Manley

in The Reference Book

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199693672
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739002 | DOI:
From the specific to the singular

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Chapters 6–6 look at various noun phrases in natural language, asking whether there is an interesting referential/non-referential distinction among them. This investigation begins in 4 with the phenomenon of specificity for indefinites. (‘Functional’ uses of indefinites and apparent exceptional scope are also discussed.) The chapter explores three views of specific indefinites. On the first view they are paradigmatically referential expressions. On the second, specificity is simply a pragmatic matter and does not affect truth-conditions. Both of these views are rejected in favor of a view (due to Roger Schwarzschild) on which specific uses of indefinites involve a special class of domain-restricting elements. In some cases, these ‘specific restrictors’ cause indefinites to exhibit some of the characteristics of referential terms. The chapter concludes by applying the view to various cases including specific indefinites in attitude reports, intensional anaphora, and the ‘non-specific de re’.

Keywords: specific indefinites; exceptional scope indefinites; referential indefinites; singleton indefinites; choice functions; domain restriction; presupposition; local accommodation

Chapter.  34207 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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