Plural Reference and Unbound Pronouns

  • Thomas J. Mckay
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 236)


It is often possible to interpret a plural claim, such as
  1. (A)

    The Fs are G

  2. (B)

    They are G

in a way that entails a universal1:
$$ (\forall x:Fx)Gx $$
Here ‘F’ represents the explicitly stated predicate in (A) (understood with appropriate contextual limitations) or, in the case of the pronominal construction (B), is a predicate that applies to the contextually relevant individuals being referred to. But once we take in the variety of plural predications, we see that plural reference and predication has several semantic bases, and no such quantificational treatment can be adequate. Ordinary quantification always involves the predication of properties that apply to the individuals referred to. But plural predication often involves properties that apply to a plurality without applying to any individual of that plurality. In fact, plural reference and predication show such variety that a uniform general treatment seems hard to envision.


Semantic Content Plural Pronoun Singular Pronoun Donkey Anaphora Quantifier Phrase 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas J. Mckay
    • 1
  1. 1.Syracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA

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