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date: 07 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers a number of ways in which the understood reference of a definite noun phrase—definite description, pronoun, demonstrative, indexical, or proper name—may depend on the context in which it is uttered. Contextual influences are reflected in phenomena such as anaphora and familiarity presuppositions, descriptive incompleteness, domain restriction, dependence on a shifted perspective in intensional contexts resulting in de re, de dicto, and de se interpretations, and inclusion of context-sensitive predicates. Careful investigation of particular types of context dependence has played an important role in the evolution of semantic theories of these NP types over the past fifty years. But outstanding puzzles about how context influences reference pose challenges to the most influential current semantic theories of some NP types, including direct reference theories of indexicals and demonstratives, and rigid designator accounts of proper names.

Keywords: anaphora, de re, de dicto, indexical, direct reference theories

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