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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-138
Number of pages20
JournalLINGUISTICS AND PHILOSOPHY
Volume43
Issue number2
Early online date10 Jul 2019
DOIs
Accepted/In press3 Apr 2019
E-pub ahead of print10 Jul 2019
Published19 Mar 2020

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Abstract

Stojnić et al. (Philos Perspect 27(1):502–525, 2013; Linguist Philos 40(5):519–547, 2017) argue that the reference of demonstratives is fixed without any contribution from the extra-linguistic context. On their ‘prominence/coherence’ theory, the reference of a demonstrative expression depends only on its context-independent linguistic meaning. Here, we argue that Stojnić et al.’s striking claims can be maintained in only the thinnest technical sense. Instead of eliminating appeals to the extra-linguistic context, we show how the prominence/coherence theory merely suppresses them. Then we ask why one might be tempted to try and offer such a view. Since we are rather sympathetic to the motivations we find, we close by sketching a more plausible alternative.

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