Incomplete descriptions and (reverse) Sobel sequences

Analysis 73 (1):26-32 (2013)
A challenge for theories of incomplete descriptions is to capture the consistency of ‘Sobel sequences’ and to account for an asymmetry in the acceptability of utterances of Sobel sequences and ‘reverse Sobel sequences’. David Lewis’s theory of incomplete descriptions answers, unlike many other theories, the challenge from Sobel sequences, but it does not answer the challenge from reverse Sobel sequences. This article presents another asymmetry in the availability of anaphoric readings of Sobel sequences and reverse Sobel sequences, and proposes an explanation of the original asymmetry on its grounds. This provides an answer to the challenge for Lewis’s theory
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DOI 10.1093/analys/ans131
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