Tense, Aspect, and Indexicality

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James Higginbotham's work on tense, aspect, and indexicality discusses the principles governing demonstrative, temporal, and indexical expressions in natural language and presents new ideas in the semantics of sentence structure. The book brings together his key contributions to the field, including his recent intervention in the debate on the roles of context and anaphora in reference. The chapters are lightly revised from their first publication, so as to reduce overlap and to take account of recent criticisms and developments.

This will be a valuable resource for all those involved in the study of semantics and its interactions with syntactic theory, in linguistics, philosophy, and related fields.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

James Higginbotham is Linda MacDonald Hilf Chair in Philosophy and Professor of Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Southern California. He was formerly Professor of General Linguistics at the University of Oxford. His research interests include the nature of linguistic competence, problems of compositionality, and indexical reference in thought and communication. He has published widely in linguistics and philosophy and is equally at home in both fields.

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Table of Contents

Preface x

General Preface xii

Provenance of the Chapters xiii

1 Tense, Indexicality, and Consequence 1

1.1 Tense, quantification, and temporal cross-reference 3

1.2 Interpretations of consequence 8

1.3 Some elaborations of tense 12

2 On Events in Linguistic Semantics 18

2.1 General considerations 18

2.2 The visibility of E 27

2.3 Telicity 36

2.4 Can events be negative? 48

2.5 Concluding remarks 51

3 Tensed Thoughts 53

3.1 Tenses and contents 53

3.2 Tenses and truth 58

3.3 Reflexive states 62

3.4 Discards 67

4 Tensed Second Thoughts: Comments on Richard 76

5 Why is Sequence of Tense Obligatory? 83

5.1 Introduction: Relations between tenses 83

5.2 The interpretation of tense 85

5.3 Tense anaphora 87

5.4 A reanalysis 93

6 Anaphoric Tense 102

6.1 Introduction 102

6.2 General outline 104

6.3 Some general questions 106

6.4 Adding the perfect 110

6.5 Rigidity and indexical mismatch 111

6.6 Subjective time 114

7 Accomplishments 116

7.1 Introduction 116

7.2 Telic pairs 117

7.3 Applications to causatives and location-locatum constructions 120

8 The English Progressive 126

8.1 Preliminary remarks 126

8.2 Semantic elements 127

8.3 Background to the English progressive 129

8.4 Counterfactuals: Dowty (1977) 130

8.5 An extensional view: Parsons (1990) 133

8.6 Counterfactuals again: Landman (1992) 138

8.7 Revision I: Making telicity explicit 139

8.8 Revision II: Telics and stages 143

8.9 Revision III: Defining 'Prog' with counterfactuals 146

8.10 Revision IV: Some influences of context 147

8.11 Cross-linguistic questions 154

9 The English Perfect and the Metaphysics of Events157

9.1 Introduction 157

9.2 Metaphysical issues 160

9.3 Interactions with sequence of tense 165

9.4 Shifted perfects 169

9.5 Conclusion 178

10 Competence with Demonstratives 179

10.1 Introduction 179

10.2 Normal forms for demonstrative reference and truth 182

10.3 Complement clauses 185

10.4 Coordinate transformations 187

10.5 Puzzles of perspective 188

10.6 Perspective and truth 192

10.7 Concluding remarks 193

11 A Plea for Implicit Anaphora 195

11.1 Introduction 195

11.2 Implicit arguments and control 198

11.3 Incorporated anaphora 204

11.4 Else 208

11.5 Concluding remarks 211

12 Remembering, Imagining, and the First Person 212

12.1 Introduction 212

12.2 Gerundive complements 215

12.3 The interpretation of (certain) gerundive complements 217

12.4 Immunity to error through misidentification: A characteristic of PRO 221

12.5 Ways of remembering and imagining 224

12.6 The semantic contribution of PRO 226

12.7 Alternatives explored 234

12.8 Links to formalization 238

12.9 Concluding examples and extensions 239

References 246

Index 255

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