Anaphoric reference to facts, propositions, and events

Linguistics and Philosophy 5 (2):235 - 276 (1982)
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Factive predicates (like ‘-matters’, ‘discover-’, ‘realizes-’) take NPs that refer to facts, propositional predicates (like ‘-seems’, ‘believes-’, ‘-likely’) take NPs that refer to propositions, and eventive predicates (like ‘-occurs’, ‘-take place’, ‘-causes-’) take NPs that refer to events (broadly speaking, including states, processes, conditions, ect.). Logically speaking at least two out of the three categories (facts, propositions, and events) can be eliminated. So, if all three kinds of referents turn out to be required for natural language semantics, their postulation is empirically significant since a priori logical considerations do not require all of them.Pronominalization evidence inter alia raises questions about the distinctness of facts, events, and propositions. Two proposals for resolving the pronominalization dilemmas are, first, that abstract elements exist which contain the genuine antecedents for the pronouns (co-reference remaining both syntactic and semantic) and second, that syntactic co-reference is simply distinct from semantic co-reference. The first proposal hardly works at all, since it requires the postulation of many abstract elements and associated unmotivated deletion (or insertion) rules. The second proposal works for all the examples considered. Prior to discussing the two proposals, I show how any two of the three categories can be logically eliminated, a demonstration which also produces some hypothetical abstract elements of use in discussing both proposals. I conclude with some brief remarks on reference versus coreference.



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Citations of this work

What causes effects?Philip L. Peterson - 1981 - Philosophical Studies 39 (2):107 - 139.
Attitudinal opacity.Philip L. Peterson - 1995 - Linguistics and Philosophy 18 (2):159 - 220.
Which Universal?Philip L. Peterson - 1988 - PSA Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988 (1):24-30.
Attitudinal opacity.Philip L. Peterson - 1994 - Linguistics and Philosophy 17 (2):159 - 220.

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References found in this work

Ontological relativity and other essays.Willard Van Orman Quine (ed.) - 1969 - New York: Columbia University Press.
Rules and representations.Noam Chomsky - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (1):1-15.
Opacity, coreference, and pronouns.Barbara Hall Partee - 1970 - Synthese 21 (3-4):359 - 385.
The case against events.Terence Horgan - 1978 - Philosophical Review 87 (1):28-47.
Facts, events and their identity conditions.N. L. Wilson - 1974 - Philosophical Studies 25 (5):303 - 321.

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