On Semantics for Characterizing Sentences

The paper presents semantics for a subset of generics, so-called “characterizing sentences”. It is argued that claims about the relationship between the truth of characterizing sentences and claims about the distribution of properties among individuals can be viewed independently of considerations about logical form. Some extant approaches are presented and criticized, and a positive analysis of characterizing sentences in terms of normality is introduced and defended. The main innovation is that a notion of normality enters into the analysis in two separate but connected places, not just one as competing accounts suggest
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