© 1985

Anaphora and Definite Descriptions

Two Applications of Game-Theoretical Semantics


Part of the Synthese Language Library book series (SLAP, volume 26)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Introduction to Game-Theoretical Semantics

    1. Jaakko Hintikka, Jack Kulas
      Pages 1-30
    2. Back Matter
      Pages 31-31
  3. Definite Descriptions

    1. Jaakko Hintikka, Jack Kulas
      Pages 33-74
    2. Back Matter
      Pages 75-76
  4. Towards a Semantical Theory of Pronomial Anaphora

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 77-77
    2. Jaakko Hintikka, Jack Kulas
      Pages 79-86
    3. Jaakko Hintikka, Jack Kulas
      Pages 87-112
    4. Jaakko Hintikka, Jack Kulas
      Pages 113-128
    5. Jaakko Hintikka, Jack Kulas
      Pages 129-155
    6. Jaakko Hintikka, Jack Kulas
      Pages 157-196
    7. Jaakko Hintikka, Jack Kulas
      Pages 197-222
    8. Back Matter
      Pages 223-224
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 225-249

About this book


I n order to appreciate properly what we are doing in this book it is necessary to realize that our approach to linguistic theorizing differs from the prevailing views. Our approach can be described by indicating what distinguishes it from the methodological ideas current in theoretical linguistics, which I consider seriously misguided. Linguists typically construe their task in these days as that of making exceptionless generalizations from particular examples. This explanatory strategy is wrong in several different ways. It presupposes that we can have "intuitions" about particular examples, usually examples invented by the linguist himself or herself, reliable and sharp enough to serve as a basis of sharp generalizations. It also presupposes that we cannot have equally reliable direct access to general linguistic regularities. Both assumptions appear to me extremely dubious, and the first of them has in effect been challenged by linguists like Dwight Bol inger. There is also some evidence that the degree of unanimity among linguists is fairly low when it comes to less clear cases, even in connection with such relatively simple questions as grammaticality (acceptability). For this reason we have tried to rely more on quotations from contemporary fiction, newspapers and magazines than on linguists' and philosophers' ad hoc examples. I also find it strange that some of the same linguists as believe that we all possess innate ideas about general characteristics of humanly possible grammars assume that we can have access to them only via their particular consequences.


Bertrand Russell Deixis discourse semantic semantics

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyFlorida State UniversityUSA

About the authors

Jaakko Hintikka is the author or co-author of thirty volumes and of some 300 scholarly articles in mathematical and philosophical logic, epistemology, language theory, philosophy of science, history of ideas and history of philosophy, including Aristotle, Descartes, Leibniz, Kant, Peirce, The Bloomsbury Group, Husserl and Wittgenstein. He has also been active in international scholarly organizations, most recently as the First Vice-President of FISP, Vice-President of IIP and Co-Chair of the American Organizing Committee of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy. He has been Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal Synthese and the Managing Editor of Synthese Library since 1965.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Anaphora and Definite Descriptions
  • Book Subtitle Two Applications of Game-Theoretical Semantics
  • Authors Jaakko Hintikka
    J. Kulas
  • Series Title Synthese Language Library
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1985
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-90-277-2055-9
  • Softcover ISBN 978-90-277-2056-6
  • eBook ISBN 978-94-009-5410-6
  • Series ISSN 0924-4662
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIV, 250
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Semantics
    Philosophy of Language
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


`Unlike previous work, (Hintikka and Kulas') theory offers a unified account of intrasentential and discourse anaphora, including deictic uses of anaphoric elements. Further, it deals with the well-studied syntactic constraints on anaphora while at the same time providing a precise truth-conditional semantics. In terms of comprehensiveness and theoretical elegance, this work sets a new standard for the study of anaphora.'
Tom Wasow, Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University