In Situations and Individuals, Paul Elbourne argues that the natural language expressions that have been taken to refer to individuals -- pronouns, proper names, and definite descriptions -- have a common syntax and semantics, roughly that of definite descriptions as construed in the tradition of Frege. In the course of his argument, Elbourne shows that proper names have previously undetected donkey anaphoric readings. This is contrary to previous theorizing and, if true, would undermine what philosophers call the direct reference theory (which holds that the sole contribution of a proper name to the truth conditions of a sentence is an individual) as well as the related doctrine that proper names are rigid designators.Elbourne begins by addressing donkey anaphora, relating other concerns about pronouns to the solution of this notorious problem. His subsequent argumentation provides a unified semantics for the donkey anaphoric and bound and referential uses of pronouns and discusses the prospect of unifying the syntax and semantics of pronouns with the syntax and semantics of normal definite descriptions. Elbourne's aim is not only to advance his proposal of a unified syntax and semantics but also to urge linguists and philosophers dealing with pronoun interpretation to consider a wider range of theories than they do at present, and to test the competing claims of description-based theories and dynamic semantics against the data.
"A sparkling contribution to the linguistic and philosophical literature on anaphora and descriptions. Original, thorough, well-presented, and immensely thought-provoking -- in short, required reading."--Stephen Neale, Professor of Philosophy, Rutgers University "Jefffrey C. King argues, in meticulous and scrupulous style, for the unorthodox thesis that complex phrases such as 'that book' are not pure referential devices, but have a unified, quantificational semantics. Complex Demonstratives is an exemplary scholarly production, going to the heart of inquiry linking the formal properties of human language to more general issues of human thought and communication."--James Higginbotham, Linda Hilf Chair in Philosophy and Professor of Linguistics, University of Southern California " Situations and Individuals takes on an ambitious task: to present a unified analysis of proper names and all kinds of pronouns. Subtle linguistic facts are brought to bear on old and new debates in linguistics and philosophy. Elbourne"s book combines the best of both disciplines." Angelika Kratzer , Professor of Linguistics, University of Massachusetts Amherst "*The Syntax of (In)dependence* is an extraordinarily careful and thoroughly argued view of pronominal anaphora, attentive to all of the major lines of research over the past 35 years or so. The author is scrupulous about the data, and equally scrupulous in his discussions and criticisms of these approaches. Work at this level of both detail and theory is valuable and rare, and crucial for further progress in the subject."--James Higginbotham, Linda Hilf Chair in Philosophy and Professor of Linguistics, University of Southern California "*Situations and Individuals* takes on an ambitious task: to present a unified analysis of proper names and all kinds of pronouns. Subtle linguistic facts are brought to bear on old and new debates in linguistics and philosophy. Elbourne's book combines the best of both disciplines."--Angelika Kratzer, Professor of Linguistics, University of Massachusetts Amherst