Reference to Abstract Objects in Discourse

Reference to Abstract Objects in Discourse

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Reference to Abstract Objects in Discourse presents a novel framework and analysis of the ways we refer to abstract objects in natural language discourse. The book begins with a typology of abstract objects and related entities like eventualities. After an introduction to `bottom up, compositional' discourse representation theory (DRT) and to previous work on abstract objects in DRT (notably work on the semantics of the attitudes), the book turns to a semantic analysis of eventuality and abstract object denoting nominals in English. The book then substantially revises and extends the dynamic semantic framework of DRT to develop an analysis of anaphoric reference to abstract objects and eventualities that exploits discourse structure and the discourse relations that obtain between elements of the structure. A dynamic, semantically based theory of discourse structure (SDRT) is proposed, along with many illustrative examples. Two further chapters then provide the analysis of anaphoric reference to propositions VP ellipsis. The abstract entity anaphoric antecedents are elements of the discourse structures that SDRT develops. The final chapter discusses some logical and philosophical difficulties for a semantic analysis of reference to abstract objects.
For semanticists, philosophers of language, computer scientists interested in natural language applications and discourse, philosophical logicians, graduate students in linguistics, philosophy, cognitive science and artificial intelligence.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 455 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 25.4mm | 842g
  • Dordrecht, Netherlands
  • English
  • 1993 ed.
  • IX, 455 p.
  • 0792322428
  • 9780792322429

Table of contents

Preface. Introduction. 1. From Events to Propositions: a Tour of Abstract Entities, Eventualities and the Nominals that Denote them. 2. A Crash Course in DRT. 3. Attitudes and Attitude Descriptions. 4. The Semantic Representation for Sentential Nominals. 5. Problems for the Semantics of Nominals. 6. Anaphora and Abstract Entities. 7. A Theory of Discourse Structure for an Analysis of Abstract Entity Anaphora. 8. Applying the Theory of Discourse Structure to the Anaphoric Phenomena. 9. Applications of the Theory of Discourse Structure to Concept Anaphora and VP Ellipsis. 10. Model Theory for Abstract Entities and its Philosophical Implications. Conclusion. Bibliography. Index.
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