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  1. Against intentionalism: an experimental study on demonstrative reference.Wojciech Rostworowski, Katarzyna Kuś & Bartosz Maćkiewicz - 2022 - Linguistics and Philosophy 45 (5):1027-1061.
    In this paper, we present two experimental studies on reference of complex demonstratives. The results of our experiments challenge the dominant view in philosophy of language, according to which demonstrative reference is determined by the speaker's intentions. The first experiment shows that in a context where there are two candidates for the referent—one determined by the speaker’s intention, the other by some “external” factors—people prefer to identify the referent of a demonstrative with the latter object. The external factors for which (...)
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  • Really Complex Demonstratives: A Dilemma.Ethan Nowak - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (4):1-24.
    I have two aims for the present paper, one narrow and one broad. The narrow aim is to show that a class of data originally described by Lynsey Wolter empirically undermine the leading treatments of complex demonstratives that have been described in the literature. The broader aim of the paper is to show that Wolter demonstratives, as I will call the constructions I focus on, are a threat not just to existing treatments, but to any possible theory that retains the (...)
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  • Persisting Problems for a Quantificational Theory of Complex Demonstratives.David Braun - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 141 (2):243-262.
    I criticized Jeffrey King’s theory of complex demonstratives in “Problems for a Quantificational Theory of Complex Demonstratives.” King replied in “Complex Demonstratives as Quantifiers: Objections and Replies.” I here comment on some of King’s replies.
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  • No Context, No Content, No Problem.Ethan Nowak - 2021 - Mind and Language 36 (2):189-220.
    Recently, philosophers have offered compelling reasons to think that demonstratives are best represented as variables, sensitive not to the context of utterance, but to a variable assignment. Variablists typically explain familiar intuitions about demonstratives—intuitions that suggest that what is said by way of a demonstrative sentence varies systematically over contexts—by claiming that contexts initialize a particular assignment of values to variables. I argue that we do not need to link context and the assignment parameter in this way, and that we (...)
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  • Complex demonstratives, singular thought, and belief attributions.José Manuel Viejo - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-27.
    Jeffrey King has famously argued that there are several prima facie problems with the direct reference theory of the semantics of complex demonstratives, three of which apparently resist solution. King concludes by observing that, if these outstanding problems cannot be solved, then the prospects for a direct reference semantics for complex demonstratives will be poor. I shall focus on just one of these outstanding problems—the objection from belief attributions—and suggest that it, at least, can be answered.
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  • Demonstratives in Philosophy and Linguistics.Lynsey Wolter - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (3):451-468.
    Demonstrative noun phrases (e.g., that guy , this ) are of interest to philosophers of language and semanticists because they are sensitive to demonstrations or speaker intentions. The interpretation of a demonstrative therefore sheds light on the role of the context in natural language semantics. This survey reviews two types of approaches to demonstratives: Kaplan's direct reference treatment of demonstratives and other indexicals, and recent challenges to Kaplan's approach that focus on less obviously context-sensitive uses of demonstratives. The survey then (...)
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  • On Identification and Transworld Identity in Natural Language: The Case of -Ever Free Relatives. [REVIEW]Daphna Heller & Lynsey Wolter - 2011 - Linguistics and Philosophy 34 (2):169-199.
    An -ever free relative is felicitous only when the speaker doesn’t know, or doesn’t care about, the identity of the entity denoted. In this paper we investigate what it means to identify an entity by examining the non-identification condition on -ever free relatives. Following Dayal (In A. Lawson (Ed.), Proceedings of SALT VII, 1997 ), we analyze -ever free relatives as definites with a modal dimension. We show that the variation in the identity of the entity across the possible worlds (...)
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  • On How to Legitimately Constrain a Semantic Theory.Joan Gimeno-Simó - 2021 - Semiotica 2021 (240):97-127.
    Semanticists often restrict their theories by imposing constraints on the parameters that can be employed for interpreting the expressions of a language. Such constraints are based on non-logical features of actual contexts of utterance, but they often have important effects on issues that do pertain to logic, like analyticity or entailment. For example, Kaplan’s restriction to so-called “proper contexts” was required in order to count “I am here now” as valid. In this paper I argue that constraints of this kind (...)
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  • Demonstratives Without Rigidity or Ambiguity.Ethan Nowak - 2014 - Linguistics and Philosophy 37 (5):409-436.
    Most philosophers recognize that applying the standard semantics for complex demonstratives to non-deictic instances results in truth conditions that are anomalous, at best. This fact has generated little concern, however, since most philosophers treat non-deictic demonstratives as marginal cases, and believe that they should be analyzed using a distinct semantic mechanism. In this paper, I argue that non-deictic demonstratives cannot be written off; they are widespread in English and foreign languages, and must be treated using the same semantic machinery that (...)
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  • The First-Person Plural and Immunity to Error.Joel Smith - 2018 - Disputatio 10 (49):141-167.
    I argue for the view that some we-thoughts are immune to error through misidentification (IEM) relative to the first-person plural pronoun. To prepare the ground for this argument I defend an account of the semantics of ‘we’ and note the variety of different uses of that term. I go on to defend the IEM of a certain range of we-thoughts against a number of objections.
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  • Four Dthats.Stefano Predelli - 2019 - Synthese 198 (4):2959-2972.
    The distinction between a merely ‘rigidifying’ dthat and a directly-referential take on dthat-terms is well known, and is explicitly highlighted by Kaplan in Afterthoughts, his 1989 commentary on Demonstratives. What is not equally widely recognized is that Afterthoughts also oscillates between three different directly referential proposals. This essay discusses the semantic and philosophical implications of these different directly-referential interpretations of ‘dthat’, paying particular attention to the relationships between syntactic and propositional structure, the structure and makeup of contexts in the semantics (...)
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  • Complex Demonstratives, Hidden Arguments, and Presupposition.Ethan Nowak - 2019 - Synthese (4):1-36.
    Standard semantic theories predict that non-deictic readings for complex demonstratives should be much more widely available than they in fact are. If such readings are the result of a lexical ambiguity, as Kaplan (1977) and others suggest, we should expect them to be available wherever a definite description can be used. The same prediction follows from ‘hidden argument’ theories like the ones described by King (2001) and Elbourne (2005). Wolter (2006), however, has shown that complex demonstratives admit non-deictic interpretations only (...)
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  • Russellians Can Solve the Problem of Empty Names with Nonsingular Propositions.Thomas Hodgson - 2020 - Synthese 197:5411–5433.
    Views that treat the contents of sentences as structured, Russellian propositions face a problem with empty names. It seems that those sorts of things cannot be the contents of sentences containing such names. I motivate and defend a solution to the problem according to which a sentence may have a singular proposition as its content at one time, and a nonsingular one at another. When the name is empty the content is a nonsingular Russellian structured proposition; when the name is (...)
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  • The Structure of Content is Not Transparent.Thomas Hodgson - 2020 - Topoi 39 (2):425-437.
    Sentences in context have semantic contents determined by a range of factors both internal and external to speakers. I argue against the thesis that semantic content is transparent to speakers in the sense of being immediately accessible to speakers in virtue of their linguistic competence.
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  • Complex Demonstratives as Quantifiers: Objections and Replies.Jeffrey C. King - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 141 (2):209-242.
    In “Complex Demonstratives: A Quantificational Account” (MIT Press 2001) (henceforth CD), I argued that complex demonstratives are quantifiers. Many philosophers had held that demonstratives, both simple and complex, are referring terms. Since the publication of CD various objections to the account of complex demonstratives I defended in it have been raised. In the present work, I lay out these objections and respond to them.
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