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Title: Situations and Individuals
Written By: Paul D. Elbourne
Series Title: Current Studies in Linguistics

In Situations and Individuals, Paul Elbourne argues that the natural
language expressions that have been taken to refer to individuals -
pronouns, proper names, and definite descriptions -have a common syntax and
semantics, roughly that of definite descriptions as construed in the
tradition of Frege. In the course of his argument, Elbourne shows that
proper names have previously undetected donkey anaphoric readings. This is
contrary to previous theorizing and, if true, would undermine what
philosophers call the direct reference theory (which holds that the sole
contribution of a proper name to the truth conditions of a sentence is an
individual) as well as the related doctrine that proper names are rigid

Elbourne begins by addressing donkey anaphora, relating other concerns
about pronouns to the solution of this notorious problem. His subsequent
argumentation provides a unified semantics for the donkey anaphoric and
bound and referential uses of pronouns and discusses the prospect of
unifying the syntax and semantics of pronouns with the syntax and semantics
of normal definite descriptions. Elbourne's aim is not only to advance his
proposal of a unified syntax and semantics but also to urge linguists and
philosophers dealing with pronoun interpretation to consider a wider range
of theories than they do at present, and to test the competing claims of
description-based theories and dynamic semantics against the data.

Paul D. Elbourne is a Research Associate at the Linguistics Institute of
the University of Potsdam.

"A sparkling contribution to the linguistic and philosophical literature on
anaphora and descriptions. Original, thorough, well presented, and
immensely thought provoking - in short, required reading."
- Stephen Neale, Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers University

Publication Year: 2006
Publisher: MIT Press
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Semantics
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Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0262050803
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 280
Prices: U.S. $ $75

Format: Paperback
ISBN: 026255061X
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 280
Prices: U.S. $ $32