Fregeanism, sententialism, and scope

Linguistics and Philosophy 45 (6):1235-1275 (2022)
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Among philosophers, Fregeanism and sententialism are widely considered two of the leading theories of the semantics of attitude reports. Among linguists, these approaches have received little recent sustained discussion. This paper aims to bridge this divide. I present a new formal implementation of Fregeanism and sententialism, with the goal of showing that these theories can be developed in sufficient detail and concreteness to be serious competitors to the theories which are more popular among semanticists. I develop a modern treatment of quantifying in for Fregeanism and sententialism, in the style of Heim and Kratzer, and then show how these theories can—somewhat surprisingly—account for “third readings” on the model of the “Standard Solution” from possible-worlds semantics. The resulting Fregean/sententialist proposal has a distinctive attraction: it treats data related to counterfactual attitudes —which have proven challenging to accommodate in the setting of possible worlds semantics—straightforwardly as third readings.

Author's Profile

Harvey Lederman
University of Texas at Austin


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