Reference to ad hoc kinds

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Although there is no consensus about what kinds are, there is a common understanding that kinds can be regarded as collections of objects that share certain properties. What these properties exactly are is often left unspecified. This paper explores the semantics of ad hoc kind-referring terms, where the determination of the relevant set of shared properties does not rely on “natural” properties or world knowledge. Rather, information provided by a nominal modifier, typically a relative clause, is used to impute the required regular behavior on the kind-referring NP. Building on Carlson’s (Reference to kinds in English, Ph.D. thesis, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 1977b) disjointness condition, I show that we can not only account for the ubiquity of these expressions, but we can also extend the analysis to other constructions that have traditionally not been taken to be kind referring, such as Amount and Degree Relative constructions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-631
Number of pages43
JournalLinguistics and Philosophy
Issue number6
Early online date26 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


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