Actions and Events in Plural Discourse

In Marija Jankovic & Kirk Ludwig (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Collective Intentionality. New York: Routledge. pp. 476-488 (2017)
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Abstract

This chapter is concerned with plural discourse in the grammatical sense. The goal of the chapter is to urge the value of the event analysis of the matrix of action sentences in thinking about logical form in plural discourse about action. Among the claims advanced are that: 1. The ambiguity between distributive and collective readings of plural action sentences is not lexical ambiguity, either in the noun phrase (NP) or in the verb phrase (VP), but an ambiguity tracing to the scope of the event quantifier introduced by the action verb. 2. This allows us to analyze collective action sentences in a way that commits us only to individual agents acting when we say that groups act, without denying that there are groups as such or that we talk about them as such. 3. Intermediate readings, that seem to be neither purely distributive nor purely collective, can be explained in terms of the same apparatus.

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Kirk Ludwig
Indiana University, Bloomington

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