David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Linguistics and Philosophy 29 (6):715 - 761 (2006)
The paper is about the interpretation of opaque verbs like “seek”, “owe”, and “resemble” which allow for unspecific readings of their (indefinite) objects. It is shown that the following two observations create a problem for semantic analysis: (a) The opaque position is upward monotone: “John seeks a unicorn” implies “John seeks an animal”, given that “unicorn” is more specific than “animal”. (b) Indefinite objects of opaque verbs allow for higher-order, or “underspecific”, readings: “Jones is looking for something Smith is looking for” can express that there is something unspecific that both Jones and Smith are looking for. Given (a) and (b), it would seem that the following inference is hard to escape, if the premisses are construed unspecifically and the conclusion is taken on its under- specific reading: Jones is looking for a sweater. Smith is looking for a pen. Smith is looking for something Jones is looking for.
|Keywords||Intensional verbs Opaque verbs|
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References found in this work BETA
David K. Lewis (1973). Counterfactuals. Blackwell Publishers.
W. V. Quine (1960). Word and Object. The MIT Press.
Robert Stalnaker (1999). Context and Content: Essays on Intentionality in Speech and Thought. Oxford University Press.
Bertrand Russell (2005). On Denoting. Mind 114 (456):873 - 887.
Citations of this work BETA
Nissim Francez & Roy Dyckhoff (2010). Proof-Theoretic Semantics for a Natural Language Fragment. Linguistics and Philosophy 33 (6):447-477.
David-Hillel Ruben (2013). Trying in Some Way. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (4):719-733.
Friederike Moltmann (2008). Intensional Verbs and Their Intentional Objects. Natural Language Semantics 16 (3):239-270.
Bartosz Więckowski (2012). A Constructive Type-Theoretical Formalism for the Interpretation of Subatomically Sensitive Natural Language Constructions. Studia Logica 100 (4):815-853.
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Thomas Ede Zimmermann (1993). On the Proper Treatment of Opacity in Certain Verbs. Natural Language Semantics 2 (1):149-179.
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