Coreference and meaning

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44 Scopus citations


Sometimes two expressions in a discourse can be about the same thing in a way that makes that very fact evident to the participants. Consider, for example, 'he' and 'John' in 'John went to the store and he bought some milk'. Let us call this 'de jure' coreference. Other times, coreference is 'de facto' as with 'Mark Twain' and 'Samuel Clemens' in a sincere use of 'Mark Twain is not Samuel Clemens'. Here, agents can understand the speech without knowing that the names refer to the same person. After surveying many available linguistic and pragmatic tools (intentions to corefer, presuppositions, meanings, indexing, discourse referents, binding etc.) I conclude that we must posit a new semantic primitive to account for de jure coreference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-324
Number of pages24
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Coreference
  • De jure coreference
  • Knowledge of reference
  • Meaning
  • Reference
  • Semantic relationism
  • Semantic relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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