Intensional Relative Clauses and the Semantics of Variable Objects

In Manfred Krifka & Schenner Mathias (eds.), Reconstruction Effects in Relative Clauses. De Gruyter (forthcoming)
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NPs with intensional relative clauses such as 'the book John needs to write' pose a significant challenge for semantic theory. Such NPs act like referential terms, yet they do not stand for a particular actual object. This paper will develop a semantic analysis of such NPs on the basis of the notion of a variable object. The analysis avoids a range of difficulties that a more standard analysis based on the notion of an individual concept would face. Most importantly, unlike the latter, the proposed analysis can be carried over NPs such as 'the number of people that fit into the bus', which describe tropes (particularized properties)
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