Quantification and Conversation

In Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O.’Rourke & Harry S. Silverstein (eds.), Reference and Referring: Topics in Contemporary Philosophy. MIT Press. 305 - 323 (2012)
Abstract
Relative to an ordinary context, an utterance of the sentence ‘Everything is in the car’ communicates a proposition about a restricted domain. But how does this work? One possibility is that quantifier expressions like 'everything' are context sensitive and range over different domains in different contexts. Another possibility is that quantifier expressions are not context sensitive, but have a fixed, absolutely general meaning, and ordinary utterances communicate a restricted content via Gricean mechanisms. I argue that, contrary to received opinion, the latter view has both a number of methodological and also intuitive advantages over the former. I then reply to three objections to the latter view: the binding argument (due to Stanley and Szabo), the availability-based attack (due to Recanati), and an argument based on Recanati’s scope principle.
Keywords quantifier  domain  context  Grice  binding argument
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