The Use of the Binding Argument in the Debate about Location

In Sarah-Jane Conrad & Klaus Petrus (eds.), Meaning, Context and Methodology. Mouton de Gruyter. pp. 191-212 (2017)
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Abstract
In this paper I inquire into the methodological status of one of the arguments that have figured prominently in contemporary debates about the semantics of a variety of expressions, the so-called “Binding Argument”. My inquiry is limited to the case of meteorological sentences like “It is raining”, but my conclusion can be extended to other types of sentences as well. Following Jason Stanley, I distinguish between three interpretations of the argument. My focus is on the third, weakest interpretation, according to which postulating variables for locations in the logical form of meteorological sentences is the best available explanation of the binding phenomena that such sentences give rise to. My aim is to show that even in this weak interpretation, the argument cannot be reasonably taken to hold. I accomplish this by showcasing several alternative ways to account for the binding data that have not been, as of yet, ruled out as flawed.
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Archival date: 2019-04-11
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