Discourse and method

Linguistics and Philosophy 43 (2):119-138 (2020)
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Abstract

Stojnić et al. (2013, 2017) argue that the reference of demonstratives is fixed without any contribution from the extra-linguistic context. On their `prominence/coherence' theory, the reference of a demonstrative expression depends only on its context-independent linguistic meaning. Here, we argue that Stojnić et al.’s striking claims can be maintained in only the thinnest technical sense. Instead of eliminating appeals to the extra-linguistic context, we show how the prominence/coherence theory merely suppresses them. Then we ask why one might be tempted to try and offer such a view. Since we are rather sympathetic to the motivations we find, we close by sketching a more plausible alternative.

Author Profiles

Eliot Michaelson
King's College London
Ethan Nowak
Umeå University

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