The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on October 31st from 4:15-6:15 (NY time) via Zoom for a talk by Friederike Moltmann (CNRS, Côte d’Azur).
Title: The semantics of special quantification: Higher-order metaphysics and nominalization approaches
Abstract: Prior’s problem consists in the impossibility of replacing clausal complements of most attitude verbs by ‘ordinary’ NPs; only ‘special quantifiers’ that is, quantifiers like something permit a replacement, preserving grammaticality or the same reading of the verb;
(1) a. John claims that he won.b. ??? John claims a proposition / some thing. c. John claims something.
In my 2013 book Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language, I have shown how this generalizes to nonreferential complements of various other intensional predicates and argued for a Nominalization Theory of special quantifiers. In this talk, I will review and extend the range of linguistic generalizations that motivate the Nominalization Theory and show that they pose serious problems for a simple higher-order semantics of special quantifiers. I will outline a new version of the Nominalization Theory for special quantifiers with attitude verbs and address the question whether there can be a unified semantics of special quantifiers for the various contexts in which they display a nominalizing force.