References in narrative text

Noûs 25 (4):457-486 (1991)
The propositional content of a reference is the proposition attributing to the referent the properties that correspond to the nouns and modifiers in the reference (for example, the propositional content of `Mary' is that the referent is named`Mary'). During language comprehension, the hearer or reader must determine the set of beliefs with respect to which the propositional content of a reference is to be understood. In the prototypical case, this set consists of the propositions that she believes that the speaker or writer believes that she and the speaker or writer mutually believe. This paper identifies two contexts in which the propositional content of a specific reference is not understood with respect to this set--subjective and objective sentences in third-person fictional narrative text--and identifies some implications of this for understanding specific references in these contexts
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