Three routes to person indexicality
Uncontroversially, the meaning of first and second person pronouns and “imposters”, i.e. expressions like yours truly, (Collins and Postal 2012), should be indexical (Kaplan 1977/1989, Stalnaker 1970), but how exactly this indexicality is achieved has been a matter of some debate. While not settling the debate, this paper aims to show that there is no single way to become a person indexical. Natural language allows for at least three different represen- tations leading to person indexicality. Evidence for this comes from sentences involving imposters and pronouns coreferent with or bound by them. Partic- ularly telling are cases of variation between third and non-third pronouns in sentences with imposters, first discussed by Collins and Postal. Constraints on this variation support the view that it is not adequate from either an empirical or an explanatory perspective to treat all person indexicals uniformly.
We discuss the problem of deriving upper-bounded meanings of few, fewer than, and related expressions, in treatments where they are taken to denote predicates of individuals. In such analyses, the determiner-like uses of these expressions are derived by existentially- closing their predicate denotations, but this is known to give rise to problems (van Benthem, 1986). We show that the needed upper bound can be derived by applying an exhaustification operator above existential closure. Crucially, this exhaustification operator is insensitive to the distributive properties of the predicates in the sentence, an assumption that we see as consistent with recent work supporting the blindness view of implicatures (Fox and Hackl, 2006; Magri, 2009). We also discuss some similarities and differences between our analysis and Buccola and Spector’s (2016) maximality-based approach.
This volume contains the proceedings of the annual Sinn und Bedeutung conference, held at Untrecht University, the Netherlands, 2011.
This paper focuses on the connection between “four-category ontologies” (which are based on Aristotle’s ontological square) and modern type-theoretical semantics. Four- category ontologies make a distinction between four types of entities: substantial universals, substantial particulars, accidental universals and accidental particulars. According to B. Smith, “fantology is a doctrine to the effect that the key to the ontological structure of reality is captured syntactically in the ‘Fa’ ”. Smith argues that predicate logic cannot adequately describe these four types of entities, which are reduced to just two kinds — the general (‘F’) and the particular (‘a’). B. Smith has criticized G. Frege’s predicate logic. He argues that Frege, being the father of modern logic, simultaneously became the father of “fantology” with its ontological commitments. Smith transforms the ontological square to the ontological sextet (which also involves universal and particular events) and proposes a set of predicates for different ontological relations connecting these six types of entities. However, Smith’s approach has a number of limitations: he suggests a theory that describes only predicates of different types as universals. We argue for another formalization for the ontological square’s entities. This approach i based on modern type-theoretical semantics, according to which, the difference between substantial universals and accidental universals can be expressed. In first-order logic the sentences “Socrates is a man” and “Socrates is wise” share the same logical form. However, this fact is not consistent with “ontological square” metaphysics (“being a man” is a substantial universal and “being wise” is an accidental universal). Whereas, according to the type-theoretical approach, relations to accidental universals are expressed by judgments about type (a : A), but relations to accidental universals are expressed by predication (‘P a’).
"Sinn und Bedeutung" is a leading European conference on formal semantics and formal pragmatics, held annually at different universities across Europe. The present volume contains a collection of papers presented at the 21st “Sinn und Bedeutung” at the University of Edinburgh on September 4th–6th, 2016.