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date: 21 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The de re/de dicto distinction describes the interaction of intensional operators and noun phrases in a sentence. The classic example ‘I want a sloop’ due to Quine (1956) contrasts two readings: a desire for a particular sloop (de re) and ‘relief from slooplessness’ (de dicto). The distinction is commonly discussed in connection with modal expressions, often construed as quantifiers over possible worlds, but entirely parallel phenomena arise for tenses, construed as quantifiers over times, and situations, combining possible worlds and time spans. This chapter provides a brief historical background of the de re/de dicto distinction and then lays out the basics of a traditional analysis in terms of scope. Next, challenges to such a theory are reviewed, as well as possible revisions to capture this problematic data. The last part of the chapter notes some loose ends and possible extensions.

Keywords: de re, de dicto, possible worlds, modal expressions, situations, intensional operators, scope

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