Quantification and Contributing Objects to Thoughts

Noûs 42 (1):207 - 231 (2008)
Abstract
In this paper, I shall explore a determiner in natural language which is ambivalent as to whether it should be classified as quantificational or objectdenoting: the determiner both. Both in many ways appears to be a paradigmatic quantifier; and yet, I shall argue, it can be interpreted as having an individual—an object—as semantic value. To show the significance of this, I shall discuss two ways of thinking about quantifiers. We often think about quantifiers via intuitions about kinds of thoughts. Certain terms are naturally used to express singular thoughts, and appear to do so by contributing objects to the thoughts expressed. Other terms are naturally used to express general thoughts, and appear to do so by contributing higher-order properties to the thoughts expressed. Viewed this way, the main condition on whether a term is a quantifier or not is whether its semantic value is an object or a higher-order property. At least, these provide necessary conditions. Both can be interpreted as contributing objects to thoughts, and in many cases appears to express genuine singular thoughts. Thinking about quantifiers this way, both can appear object-denoting and non-quantificational. We also often think about quantifiers in terms of a range linguistic features, including semantic value, presupposition, scope, binding, syntactic distribution, and many others. Viewed this way, I shall argue, both can appear quantificational. In particular, it displays scope behavior that is one of the hallmarks of quantification. But, I shall show, it can do so even if given a semantics on which it denotes an object. Thus, both appears quantificational by some linguistic standards, and yet appears object-denoting by standards based on intuitions about the kinds..
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