Synthese:1-20 (forthcoming)

T. Parent
Nazarbayev University
'The kind Lion' denotes a kind. Yet many generics are thought to denote kinds also, like the subject-terms in 'The lion has a mane', 'Dinosaurs are extinct', and 'The potato was cultivated in Ireland by the end of the 17th century.' This view may be adequate for the linguist's overall purposes--however, if we limit our attention to the theory of reference, it seems unworkable. The problem is that what is often predicated of kinds is not what is predicated of the lion, dinosaurs, and the potato. Thus, kinds are sometimes said to be abstract objects, immanent universals, nominal essences, etc. But the lion is a predatory cat--it is not an abstract object, nor an immanent universal, nor a nominal essence. I consider several proposals about resolving the dilemma; however, the conclusion is that none of the proposals are adequate. We are thus hard pressed to make sense of allegedly kind-denoting generics, and the lesson is a "Socratic" one about the depths of our ignorance.
Keywords disquotation  noun phrases (NPs)  common noun  sortals  species  generic generalizations  theory of reference and denotation  intensional contexts and intensionality
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11229-019-02278-7
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,029
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
237 ( #38,607 of 2,427,651 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
17 ( #43,608 of 2,427,651 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes