Anaphora and negation

Philosophical Studies 178 (5):1403-1440 (2021)
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One of the central questions of discourse dynamics is when an anaphoric pronoun is licensed. This paper addresses this question as it pertains to the complex data involving anaphora and negation. It is commonly held that negation blocks anaphoric potential, for example, we cannot say “Bill doesn’t have a car. It is black”. However, there are many exceptions to this generalization. This paper examines a variety of types of discourses in which anaphora on indefinites under the scope of negation is felicitous. These cases are not just of intrinsic interest, but I argue present serious problems for the dynamic semantic framework, which builds the licensing facts into the semantics. I argue in favor of adopting a dynamic pragmatics, a theory that explains context change through general Gricean principles, and combining it with a static, d-type theory of anaphora, in which pronouns go proxy for definite descriptions.



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Karen S. Lewis
Barnard College

Citations of this work

Witnesses.Matthew Mandelkern - 2022 - Linguistics and Philosophy 45 (5):1091-1117.
Anaphora.Jeffrey C. King & Karen S. Lewis - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Descriptions, pronouns, and uniqueness.Karen S. Lewis - 2022 - Linguistics and Philosophy 45 (3):559-617.
Pronouns as Demonstratives.Kyle Blumberg - 2021 - Philosophers' Imprint 21 (35).

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Scorekeeping in a language game.David Lewis - 1979 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 8 (1):339--359.
A Natural History of Negation.Laurence R. Horn - 1989 - University of Chicago Press.

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