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  1. Deixis, Demonstratives, and Definite Descriptions.Thomas J. Hughes - 2020 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 9 (4):285-297.
    Definite articles and demonstratives share many features in common including a related etymology and a number of parallel communicative functions. The following paper is concerned with developing a novel proposal on how to distinguish the two types of expression. First, crosslinguistic evidence is presented to argue that demonstratives contain locational markers that are employed in deictic uses to force contrastive focus and accentuate an intended referent against a contextual background. Conversely, definite articles lack such markers. Demonstratives are thus more likely (...)
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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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  • Indirectly direct: An account of demonstratives and pointing.Dorothy Ahn - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy:1-49.
    There has been a long debate on whether demonstratives are directly referential as Kaplan originally argued, or indirectly referential like a definite description. I propose a new analysis of demonstratives that combines intuitions from both direct and indirect approaches. The demonstrative is analyzed as an indirectly referential expression with a binary maximality operator that takes two arguments, where the second argument can be a deictic pointing, an anaphoric index, or a relative clause. Direct reference is encoded not in the meaning (...)
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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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  • Pronouns as Demonstratives.Kyle Blumberg - 2021 - Philosophers' Imprint 21 (35).
    In this paper, I outline a novel approach to the semantics of natural language pronouns. On this account, which I call 'demonstrativism', pronouns are semantically equivalent to demonstratives. I begin by presenting some contrasts that provide support for demonstrativism. Then I try to explain these contrasts by developing a particular demonstrativist proposal. I build on the "hidden argument" theory of demonstratives. On this theory, demonstratives are semantically similar to definite descriptions, with one important difference: demonstratives take two arguments, rather than (...)
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  • Demonstratives, Definite Descriptions and Non-Redundancy.Kyle Hammet Blumberg - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (1):39-64.
    In some sentences, demonstratives can be substituted with definite descriptions without any change in meaning. In light of this, many have maintained that demonstratives are just a type of definite description. However, several theorists have drawn attention to a range of cases where definite descriptions are acceptable, but their demonstrative counterparts are not. Some have tried to account for this data by appealing to presupposition. I argue that such presuppositional approaches are problematic, and present a pragmatic account of the target (...)
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