Average-NPs, such as the one in the title of this paper, have been claimed to be ‘linguistically identical’ to any other definite-NPs but at the same time to be ‘semantically inconsistent’ with these other definite-NPs. To some this is an ironclad proof of the irrelevance of semantics to linguistics. We argue that both of the initial claims are wrong: average-NPs are not ‘linguistically identical’ to other definite-NPs but instead show a number of interesting divergences, and we provide a plausible semantic account for them that is not ‘semantically inconsistent’ with the account afforded other definite-NPs but in fact blends quite nicely with one standard account of the semantics for NPs.
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Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (2):278-279.

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