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Profile: Friederike Moltmann (École Normale Supérieure, New York University)
  1. Friederike Moltmann, Attitudinal Objects and the Distinction Between Actions and Products.
    This paper explores a notion of a truth-bearing entity that is distinct both from a proposition and from an intentional event, state, or action, namely the notion of an attitudinal object. Attitudinal objects are entities like ‘John’s belief that S’, John’s claim that S’, ‘John’s desire that S’, or ‘John’s request that S’. The notion of an attitudinal object has an important precedent in the work of the Polish philosopher Twardowski (1912), who drew a more general distinction between ‘actions’ and (...)
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  2. Friederike Moltmann, Attitude Reports, Events, and Partial Models.
    Clausal complements of different kinds of attitude verbs such as believe, doubt, be surprised, wonder, say, and whisper behave differently semantically in a number of respects. For example, they differ in the inference patterns they display. This paper develops a semantic account of clausal complements using partial logic which accounts for such semantic differences on the basis of a uniform meaning of clauses. It focuses on explaining the heterogeneous inference patterns associated with different kinds of attitude verbs, but it contributes (...)
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  3. Friederike Moltmann, Contexts and Propositions.
    This paper concerns itself with the relation between two important semantic notions: the traditional notion of proposition and a more recent notion of context as an information state. The notion of proposition has traditionally played an important role in the theory of meaning: propositions are entities that have independent truth conditions and act as the meaning of both independent and embedded sentences as well the objects of propositional attitudes such as assertion and belief.
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  4. Friederike Moltmann, Context, Complex Sentences, and Propositional Content.
    In some recent developments of semantic theory, in particular certain versions of dynamic semantics, ‘internal’ contexts, that is, contexts defined in terms of the interlocutors’ pragmatic presuppositions or the information accumulated in the discourse have come to play a central role, replacing the notion of propositional content in favor of a notion of context change potential as the meaning of sentences. I will argue that there are a number of fundamental problems with this conception of sentence meaning and outline a (...)
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  5. Friederike Moltmann, Comparatives Without Degrees: A Trope-Based Analysis.
    The most common analyses of comparatives make use of degrees, abstract objects that form a total ordering. In this paper, I will explore a novel analysis of comparatives in which the central notion is not the notion of a degree, but rather the notion of a concrete property manifestation, a particularized property, or a trope, as it is most commonly called in contemporary metaphysics. This trope-based analysis, I argue, has some major conceptual and empirical advantages over a degree-based account. A (...)
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  6. Friederike Moltmann, Existence Predicates.
    The most common philosophical view of existence is that existence amounts to existential quantification or is a second-order concept. A less common philosophical view is that existence is a first-order property distinguishing between nonexistent (past, possible, or merely intentional) objects and existing objects. An even less common philosophical view is that existence divides into different ‘modes of being’ for different kinds of entities. The aim of the present paper is to take a closer look at how the notion of existence (...)
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  7. Friederike Moltmann, On the Semantics and Ontology of 'Cases'.
    This paper proposes an ontological account of what we refer to as cases: 'the case of the stolen statue', the case of a defeat' and 'the case in which John may be late'. It is argued that cases are best suited for the role of truthmakers, which manifests itself in the appearance of 'the case' in 'it is sometimes the case that S'.
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  8. Friederike Moltmann, Proper Names, Sortals, and the Mass-Count Distinction.
    This paper reviews the role of sortals in the syntax and semantics of proper names and the related question of a mass-count distinction among proper names. The paper argues that sortals play a significant role with proper names and that that role matches individuating or ‘sortal’ classifiers in languages lacking a mass-count distinction. Proper names do not themselves classify as count, but may classify as mass or rather number-neutral. This also holds for other expressions or uses of expressions that lack (...)
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  9. Massimiliano Carrara, Alessandra Arapinis & Friederike Moltmann (eds.) (forthcoming). Unity and Plurality. Philosophy, Logic, and Semantics. Oxford University Press.
    This volume brings together new work on the logic and ontology of plurality and a range of recent articles exploring novel applications to natural language semantics. The contributions in this volume in particular investigate and extend new perspectives presented by plural logic and non-standard mereology and explore their applications to a range of natural language phenomena. Contributions by P. Aquaviva, A. Arapinis, M. Carrara, P. McKay, F. Moltmann, O. Linnebo, A. Oliver and T. Smiley, T. Scaltsas, P. Simons, and B.-Y. (...)
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  10. Friederike Moltmann (forthcoming). Cognitive Products and the Semantics of Attitude Verbs and Deontic Modals. In Friederike Moltmann & Mark Textor (eds.), Act-Based Conceptions of Propositional Content. Contemporary and Historical Perspectives. Oxford University Press.
    This paper argues for a semantic account of attitude reports and deontic modals based on the notion of a cognitive product, as opposed to the notion of an abstract proposition or a cognitive act.
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  11. Friederike Moltmann (forthcoming). Intensional Relative Clauses and the Semantics of Variable Objects. In Manfred Krifka & Schenner Mathias (eds.), Reconstruction Effects in Relative Clauses. Akademie Verlag.
    NPs with intensional relative clauses such as 'the book John needs to write' pose a significant challenge for semantic theory. Such NPs act like referential terms, yet they do not stand for a particular actual object. This paper will develop a semantic analysis of such NPs on the basis of the notion of a variable object. The analysis avoids a range of difficulties that a more standard analysis based on the notion of an individual concept would face. Most importantly, unlike (...)
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  12. Friederike Moltmann (forthcoming). Proceedings of Formal Ontology and Information Systems (FOIS), 2014.
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  13. Friederike Moltmann (forthcoming). Plural Reference and Reference to a Plurality. Linguistic Facts and Semantic Analyses. In Massimiliano Carrara, Alexandra Arapinis & Friederike Moltmann (eds.), Unity and Plurality. Logic, Philosophy, and Semantics. Oxford University Press.
    This paper defends 'plural reference', the view that definite plurals refer to several individuals at once, and it explores how the view can account for a range of phenomena that have been discussed in the linguistic literature.
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  14. Friederike Moltmann (forthcoming). Plural Reference and Syntactic Three-Dimensionality (Book Proposal, Under Contract). Oxford University Press.
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  15. Friederike Moltmann (forthcoming). Quantification with Intentional and with Intensional Verbs. In Alessandro Torza (ed.), Quantifiers, Quantifiers, Quantifiers. Springer.
    The question whether natural language permits quantification over intentional objects as the ‘nonexistent’ objects of thought is the topic of a major philosophical controversy, as is the status of intentional objects as such. This paper will argue that natural language does reflect a particular notion of intentional object and in particular that certain types of natural language constructions (generally disregarded in the philosophical literature) cannot be analysed without positing intentional objects. At the same time, those intentional objects do not come (...)
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  16. Friederike Moltmann (forthcoming). States Versus Tropes. Comments on C. Anderson and M. Morzycki: 'Degrees as Kinds'. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory.
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  17. Friederike Moltmann (forthcoming). The Number of Planets, a Number-Referring Term? In Philip A. Ebert & Marcus Rossberg (eds.), Abstractionism. Oxford University Press.
    The question whether numbers are objects is a central question in the philosophy of mathematics. Frege made use of a syntactic criterion for objethood: numbers are objects because there are singular terms that stand for them, and not just singular terms in some formal language, but in natural language in particular. In particular, Frege (1884) thought that both noun phrases like the number of planets and simple numerals like eight as in (1) are singular terms referring to numbers as abstract (...)
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  18. Friederike Moltmann (forthcoming). The Ontology of 'Cases'. In Proceedings of Formal Ontology and Information Systems (FOIS), 2014.
    This paper gives an account of constructions with the noun 'case' based on truthmaking and argues that 'cases' form their own ontological category.
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  19. Friederike Moltmann (forthcoming). 'Truth Predicates' in Natural Language. In Dora Achourioti, Henri Galinon & José Martinez (eds.), Unifying Theories of Truth. Springer.
    This takes a closer look at the actual semantic behavior of apparent truth predicates in English and re-evaluates the way they could motivate particular philosophical views regarding the formal status of 'truth predicates' and their semantics. The paper distinguishes two types of 'truth predicates' and proposes semantic analyses that better reflect the linguistic facts. These analyses match particular independently motivated philosophical views.
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  20. Friederike Moltmann (forthcoming). Variable Objects and Truthmaking. In Mircea Dumitru (ed.), Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality. Themes from Kit Fine. Oxford UP.
    This paper will focus on a philosophically significant construction whose semantics brings together two important notions in Kit Fine’s philosophy, the notion of truthmaking and the notion of a variable embodiment, or its extension, namely what I call a ‘variable object’. The analysis of the construction this paper will develop will be based on an account of clausal complements of intensional verbs that is of more general interest, based on truthmaking and the notion of a cognitive product, such as a (...)
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  21. Friederike Moltmann & Mark Textor (eds.) (forthcoming). Act-Based Conceptions of Propositional Content. Contemporary and Historical Perspectives. Oxford University Press.
    Ever since Frege, propositions have played a central role in philosophy of language. Propositions are generally conceived as abstract objects that have truth conditions essentially and fulfill both the role of the meaning of sentences and of the objects or content of propositional attitudes. More recently, the abstract conception of propositions has given rise to serious dissatisfaction among a number of philosophers, who have instead proposed a conception of propositional content based on cognitive acts (Hanks, Moltmann, Soames). This approach is (...)
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  22. Friederike Moltmann & Lucia Tovena (eds.) (forthcoming). Mass and Count in Linguistics, Philosophy, and Cognitive Science. John Benjamins.
  23. Friederike Moltmann (2014). Propositions, Attitudinal Objects, and the Distinction Between Actions and Products. Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Supplementary Volume on Propositions, Edited by G. Rattan and D. Hunter 43 (5-6):679-701.
    This paper argues that attutudinal objects, entities of the sort of John's judgment, John's thought, and John's claim should play the role of propositions, as the cognitive products of cognitive acts, not the acts themselves.
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  24. Friederike Moltmann (2013). Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language. Oxford University Press.
    Philosophers have defended various views about abstract objects by appealing to metaphysical considerations, considerations regarding mathematics or science, and, not infrequently, intuitions about natural language. This book pursues the question of how and whether natural language allows for reference to abstract objects in a fully systematic way. By making full use of contemporary linguistic semantics, it presents a much greater range of linguistic generalizations than has previously been taken into consideration in philosophical discussions, and it argues for an ontological picture (...)
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  25. Friederike Moltmann (2013). Identificational Sentences. Natural Language Semantics 21 (1):43-77.
    Based on the notion of a trope, this paper gives a novel analysis of identificational sentences such as 'this is Mary','this is a beautiful woman', 'this looks like Mary', or 'this is the same lump of clay, but not the same statue as that'.
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  26. Friederike Moltmann (2013). On the Distinction Between Abstract States, Concrete States, and Tropes. In Claire Beyssade, Mari Alda & Del Prete Fabio (eds.), Genericity. Oxford University Press. 292-311.
    This paper defends a distinction between ‘abstract states’ and ‘concrete states’, following Maienborn (2005, 2007) in her account of the peculiar semantic behavior of stative verbs. The paper proposes an ontological account of the notion of an abstract state and discusses how it relates to the notion of a trope or particularized property, which has so far been neglected in the semantic literature on stative verbs.
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  27. Friederike Moltmann (2013). Reference to Numbers in Natural Language. Philosophical Studies 162 (3):499 - 536.
    A common view is that natural language treats numbers as abstract objects, with expressions like the number of planets, eight, as well as the number eight acting as referential terms referring to numbers. In this paper I will argue that this view about reference to numbers in natural language is fundamentally mistaken. A more thorough look at natural language reveals a very different view of the ontological status of natural numbers. On this view, numbers are not primarily treated abstract objects, (...)
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  28. Friederike Moltmann (2013). Tropes, Bare Demonstratives, and Apparent Statements of Identity. Noûs 47 (2):346-370.
    Philosophers who accept tropes generally agree that tropes act as the objects of reference of nominalizations of adjectives, such as 'Socrates’ wisdom' or 'the beauty of the landscape'. This paper argues that tropes play a further important role in the semantics of natural language, namely in the semantics of bare demonstratives like 'this' and 'that' in what in linguistics is called identificational sentences.
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  29. Friederike Moltmann (2013). The Semantics of Existence. Linguistics and Philosophy 36 (1):31-63.
    The notion of existence is a very puzzling one philosophically. Often philosophers have appealed to linguistic properties of sentences stating existence. However, the appeal to linguistic intuitions has generally not been systematic and without serious regard of relevant issues in linguistic semantics. This paper has two aims. On the one hand, it will look at statements of existence from a systematic linguistic point of view, in order to try to clarify what the actual semantics of such statements in fact is. (...)
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  30. Friederike Moltmann (2012). Tropes, Intensional Relative Clauses, and the Notion of a Variable Object. In Aloni Maria, Kimmelman Vadim, Weidman Sassoon Galit, Roloefson Floris, Schulz Katrin & Westera Matthjis (eds.), Proceedings of the 18th Amsterdam Colloquium 2011. Springer.
    NPs with intensional relative clauses such as 'the impact of the book John needs to write' pose a significant challenge for trope theory (the theory of particularized properties), since they seem to refer to tropes that lack an actual bearer. This paper proposes a novel semantic analysis of such NPs on the basis of the notion of a variable object. The analysis avoids a range of difficulties that an alternative analysis based on the notion of an individual concept would face.
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  31. Friederike Moltmann (2012). Two Kinds of First-Person-Oriented Content. Synthese 184 (2):157 - 177.
    In this paper, I will argue that two kinds of first-person-oriented content are distinguished in more ways than usually thought and I propose an account that will shed new light on the distinction. The first kind consists of contents of attitudes de se (in a broad sense); the second kind consists of contents that give rise to intuitions of relative truth. I will present new data concerning the two kinds of first-person-oriented content, together with a novel account of propositional content (...)
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  32. Friederike Moltmann (2010). Generalizing Detached Self-Reference and the Semantics of Generic 'One'. Mind and Language 25 (4):440-473.
    In this paper I will give an analysis of what I call ‘generalizing detached self-reference’ within a general account of reference to the first person. With generalizing detached self-reference an agent attributes properties to a range of individuals by putting himself into their shoes, or simulating them. I will show that generalizing detached self-reference plays an important role in the semantics of natural language, in particular in the English generic one and in what syntacticians call arbitrary PRO.
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  33. Friederike Moltmann (2010). On the Semantics of Existence Predicates. In Ingo Reich (ed.), Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 15, Saarbruecken.
    The most common philosophical view about the notion of existence is that it is a second-order property or existential quantification. A less common view is that existence is a (first-order) property of 'existent' as opposed to 'nonexistent' (past or merely intentional) objects. An even less common view is that existence divides into different 'modes of being' for different sorts of entities. In this paper I will take a closer look at the semantic behavior of existence predicates in natural language, such (...)
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  34. Friederike Moltmann (2010). Relative Truth and the First Person. Philosophical Studies 150 (2):187-220..
    In recent work on context­dependency, it has been argued that certain types of sentences give rise to a notion of relative truth. In particular, sentences containing predicates of personal taste and moral or aesthetic evaluation as well as epistemic modals are held to express a proposition (relative to a context of use) which is true or false not only relative to a world of evaluation, but other parameters as well, such as standards of taste or knowledge or an agent. Thus, (...)
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  35. Friederike Moltmann (2009). Degree Structure as Trope Structure: A Trope-Based Analysis of Positive and Comparative Adjectives. Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (1):51-94.
    This paper explores a novel analysis of adjectives in the comparative and the positive based on the notion of a trope, rather than the notion of a degree. Tropes are particularized properties, concrete manifestations of properties in individuals. The point of departure is that a sentence like ‘John is happier than Mary’ is intuitively equivalent to ‘John’s happiness exceeds Mary’s happiness’, a sentence that expresses a simple comparison between two tropes, John’s happiness and Mary’s happiness. The analysis received particular support (...)
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  36. Friederike Moltmann (2008). Intensional Verbs and Their Intentional Objects. Natural Language Semantics 16 (3):239-270.
    The complement of intensional transitive verbs, like any nonreferential complement, can be replaced by a ‘special quantifier’ or ‘special pronoun’ such as 'something', 'the same thing', or 'what'. In this paper, I will defend the ‘Nominalization Theory’ of special quantifiers against a range of apparent counterexamples involving intensional transitive verbs.
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  37. Friederike Moltmann (2007). Events, Tropes, and Truthmaking. Philosophical Studies 134 (3):363-403.
    Nominalizations are expressions that are particularly challenging philosophically in that they help form singular terms that seem to refer to abstract or derived objects often considered controversial. The three standard views about the semantics of nominalizations are [1] that they map mere meanings onto objects, [2] that they refer to implicit arguments, and [3] that they introduce new objects, in virtue of their compositional semantics. In the second case, nominalizations do not add anything new but pick up objects that would (...)
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  38. Friederike Moltmann (2006). Generic 'One', Arbitrary PRO, and the First Person. Natural Language Semantics 14 (3):257–281.
    The generic pronoun 'one' (or its empty counterpart, arbitrary PRO) exhibits a range of properties that show a special connection to the first person, or rather the relevant intentional agent (speaker, addressee, or described agent). The paper argues that generic 'one' involves generic quantification in which the predicate is applied to a given entity ‘as if’ to the relevant agent himself. This is best understood in terms of simulation, a central notion in some recent developments in the philosophy of mind (...)
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  39. Friederike Moltmann (2006). Presuppositions and Quantifier Domains. Synthese 149 (1):179 - 224.
    In this paper, I will argue for a new account of presuppositions which is based on double indexing as well as minimal representational contexts providing antecedent material for anaphoric presuppositions, rather than notions of context defined in terms of the interlocutors’ pragmatic presuppositions or the information accumulated from the preceding discourse. This account applies in particular to new phenomena concerning the presupposition of quantifier domains. But it is also intended to be an account of presuppositions in general. The account differs (...)
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  40. Friederike Moltmann (2006). Unbound Anaphoric Pronouns: E-Type, Dynamic, and Structured-Propositions Approaches. Synthese 153 (2):199 - 260.
    Unbound anaphoric pronouns or ‘E-type pronouns’ have presented notorious problems for semantic theory, leading to the development of dynamic semantics, where the primary function of a sentence is not considered that of expressing a proposition that may act as the object of propositional attitudes, but rather that of changing the current information state. The older, ‘E-type’ account of unbound anaphora leaves the traditional notion of proposition intact and takes the unbound anaphor to be replaced by a full NP whose semantics (...)
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  41. Friederike Moltmann (2005). Part Structures in Situations: The Semantics of 'Individual' and 'Whole'. Linguistics and Philosophy 28 (5):599 - 641.
    This paper develops the notion of a situated part structure and applies it to the semantics of the modifiers 'whole' and 'individual'. It argues that the ambiguity of 'whole' should be traced to two different conceptions of part structures of objects being at play: one according to which the parts of an objects are just the material parts and another, Aristotelian conception according to which the parts of an object include properties of form.
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  42. Friederike Moltmann (2005). Two Kinds of Universals and Two Kinds of Collections. Linguistics and Philosophy 27 (6):739 - 776.
    This paper argues for an ontological distinction between two kinds of universals, 'kinds of tropes' such as 'wisdom' and properties such as 'the property of being wise'. It argues that the distinction is parallel to that between two kinds of collections, pluralities such as 'the students' and collective objects such as 'the class'. The paper argues for the priortity of distributive readings with pluralities on the basis of predicates of extent or shape, such 'large' or 'long'.
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  43. Friederike Moltmann (2004). Nonreferential Complements, Nominalizations, and Derived Objects. Journal of Semantics 21 (1):1-43.
    This paper argues that certain complements in philosophically significant constructions, especially predicative and clausal complements and intensional NPs, should not be analysed as providing an argument for a relation expressed by the verb, but rather as forming a complex predicate together with the verb. Apparent evidence for the traditional relational analyses, namely the possibility of replacing the complement by quantifiers such as 'something', will be shown to be misguided. Quantifiers like 'something' rather act as nominalizing expressions introducing ‘new’, derived objects (...)
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  44. Friederike Moltmann (2004). Properties and Kinds of Tropes: New Linguistic Facts and Old Philosophical Insights. Mind 113 (449):1-41.
    Terms such as 'wisdom' or 'happiness' are commonly held to refer to abstract objects that are properties. On the basis of a greater range of linguistic data and with the support of some ancient and medieval philosophical views, I argue that such terms do not stand for objects, but rather for kinds of tropes, entities that do not have the status of objects, but only play a role as semantic values of terms and as arguments of predicates. Such ‘non-objects’ crucially (...)
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  45. Friederike Moltmann (2004). The Semantics of Together. Natural Language Semantics 12 (4):289-318.
    The semantic function of the modifier together in adnominal position has generally been considered to be that of preventing a distributive reading of the predicate. On the basis of a new range of data, I will argue that this view is mistaken. The semantic function of adnominal together rather is that of inducing a cumulative measurement of the group that together is associated with. The measurement-based analysis of adnominal together that I propose can also, with some modifications, be extended to (...)
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  46. Friederike Moltmann (2003). Nominalizing Quantifiers. Journal of Philosophical Logic 32 (5):445-481.
    Quantified expressions in natural language generally are taken to act like quantifiers in logic, which either range over entities that need to satisfy or not satisfy the predicate in order for the sentence to be true or otherwise are substitutional quantifiers. I will argue that there is a philosophically rather important class of quantified expressions in English that act quite differently, a class that includes something, nothing, and several things. In addition to expressing quantification, such expressions act like nominalizations, introducing (...)
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  47. Friederike Moltmann (2003). Propositional Attitudes Without Propositions. Synthese 135 (1):77 - 118.
    The most common account of attitude reports is the relational analysis according towhich an attitude verb taking that-clause complements expresses a two-placerelation between agents and propositions and the that-clause acts as an expressionwhose function is to provide the propositional argument. I will argue that a closerexamination of a broader range of linguistic facts raises serious problems for thisanalysis and instead favours a Russellian `multiple relations analysis' (which hasgenerally been discarded because of its apparent obvious linguistic implausibility).The resulting account can be (...)
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  48. Friederike Moltmann (1998). Part Structures, Integrity, and the Mass-Count Distinction. Synthese 116 (1):75 - 111.
    The notions of part and whole play an important role for ontology and in many areas of the semantics of natural language. Both in philosophy and linguistic semantics, usually a particular notion of part structure is used, that of extensional mereology. This paper argues that such a notion is insufficient for ontology and, especially, for the semantic analysis of the relevant constructionsof natural language. What is needed for the notion of part structure,in addition to an ordering among parts, is the (...)
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  49. Friederike Moltmann (1997). Intensional Verbs and Quantifiers. Natural Language Semantics 5 (1):1-52.
    This paper discusses the semantics of intensional transitive verbs such as 'need', 'want','recognize', 'find', and 'hire'. It proposes new linguistic criteria for intensionality and defends two semantic analyses for two different classes of intensional verbs. The paper also includes a systematic classification of intensional verbs according to the type of lexical meaning they involve.
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  50. Friederike Moltmann (1997). Parts and Wholes in Semantics (Preprint). Oxford University Press.
    This book present a unified semantic theory of expressions involving the notions of part and whole. It develops a theory of part structures which differs from traditional (extensional) mereological theories in that the notion of an integrated whole plays a central role and in that the part structure of an entity is allowed to vary across different situations, perspectives, and dimensions. The book presents a great range of empirical generalizations involving plurals, mass nouns, adnominal and adverbial modifiers such as 'whole', (...)
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