Binding arguments and hidden variables

Analysis 67 (1):65–71 (2007)
o (2000), 243). In particular, the idea is that binding interactions between the relevant expressions and natural lan- guage quantifiers are best explained by the hypothesis that those expressions harbor hidden but bindable variables. Recently, however, Herman Cappelen and Ernie Lepore have rejected such binding arguments for the presence of hid- den variables on the grounds that they overgeneralize — that, if sound, such arguments would establish the presence of hidden variables in all sorts of ex- pressions where it is implausible that they exist (Cappelen and Lepore (2005), Cappelen and Lepore (2002)).1 In what follows we respond to Cappelen’s and Lepore’s attempted reductio by bringing out crucial disanalogies between cases where the binding argument is successful and cases where it is not. But we have a deeper purpose than merely to respond to Cappelen and Lepore: we think the attempted reductio goes wrong by not taking sufficiently seriously the nature of the binding relation that holds between quantifiers and arguments/variables, and that our criticism will serve to highlight the nature and importance of this relation.
Keywords semantics  hidden variables  binding argument
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