Singular Terms for Numbers?

  • Robert SchwartzkopffEmail author
Original Paper


In natural language, number-words—i.e., words can be used in two different syntactic ways: adjectivally, i.e., with the syntactic status of an adjective, as in (1) ‘Mars has two moons,’ and nominally, i.e., with the syntactic status of a noun phrase, as in (2) ‘Two is even.’ This syntactic difference is often taken to correspond to a difference in semantic function: adjectival number-words function as predicables, whereas nominal number-words function as singular terms. The view that nominal number-words function as singular terms is typically supported by appeal to certain tests for singular-termhood, tests that stem from the (neo-)Fregean tradition. In this paper, I argue that these tests do not support the view of nominal number-words as singular terms.


Numbers Number-words (neo-)Fregeanism Philosophy of mathematics Singular terms 



I am grateful for the helpful discussions with the audiences of the workshops Talking of Something or Talking of Nothing? (University of Gothenburg, January 2014) and Nominalizations II (University of Hamburg, May 2015), the participants of the research colloquium Sprache und Welt (University of Hamburg, May 2018), as well as for the helpful comments from two anonymous referees for this journal.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Fudan University 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany

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