Abstract

Jason Stanley has argued that in order to obtain the desired readings of certain sentences, such as ‘In most of John's classes, he fails exactly three Frenchmen’, we must suppose that each common noun is associated with a hidden indexical that may be either bound by a higher quantifier phrase or interpreted by the context. This paper shows that the desired readings can be obtained as well by interpreting nouns as expressing relations and without supposing that nouns are associated with hidden indexicals. Stanley's theory and the present alternative are not equivalent, however. They differ over the status of sentences such as ‘Every student is happy and some student is not happy’. On Stanley's theory, this sentence will be true in some contexts, while on the present alternative it will be true in no context. Considerations in favour of the present theory's verdict on such sentences are presented. The broader question at issue is the correct way to incorporate context-relativity into formal semantics.

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