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Reference and Sortals

Dr. Friederike Moltmann

Thursday, October 11, 2007, 12:00pm - 07:00pm

Director of Research, CNRS, Paris, FRANCE

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The received view in contemporary philosophy of language is that� sortals are not needed for reference: the reference of a term,� especially that of a directly referential term can be fixed without� the help of a sortal. In this talk I will present a range of new� linguistic generalizations that indicates that reference to abstract� objects (such as facts, propositions and numbers) and certain derived� objects (such as collections) does indeed require a sortal and cannot� be achieved by a 'nonreferential' expression alone, such as a� that-clause, a plural like 'the children', or a numeral like 'eight'.
I will argue that predicates when taking such a nonreferential� expression as complement must be understood in a new way, not as� expressing a property applying to an object, but as specifying� 'multiple relations' (for that-clauses), as being multigrade (for� plurals), or as syncategorematically interacting with what is� expressed by a numeral, as on the 'adjectival strategy' for treating� number terms, discussed in the philosophy of mathematics.

Dr. Friederike Moltmann