SpeakerUna Stojnic
DateDec 09, 2013
Time11:00AM 12:00PM
LocationIF-3.07 IMR
TitleDiscourse and Logical Form

We develop an original account of reference resolution for demonstrativepronouns that formally precisifies interdependences between the mechanismsstructuring a discourse context and reference resolution. According to ourview, what a pronoun picks out is partly determined by what is at the center ofattention in a coherent discourse (where both 'attention' and 'coherence' canbe made quite precise).  We argue thatthese mechanisms, contrary to the central claims of received views in broadlyKaplanean tradition, are linguistic in nature and grammaticized, and as suchshould be independently represented at the level of logical form. Once thesesystematic linguistic contributions are recognized, we will be able tocharacterize the meaning of a demonstrative pronoun, like ‘he’, such that, muchas with pure indexicals, like ‘I’, its reference is straightforwardlydetermined as a function of linguistic context. We will argue that the resulting view, which we call theAttention-Coherence account, is superior to its competitors in severalrespects.  It recognizes and renderstransparent certain linguistic mechanisms typically left implicit, or confusedwith pragmatic processes; and consequently, since our view treats the referenceof a demonstrative pronoun purely as a function of context, it avoids ascribingambiguity to seemingly unambiguous expressions, as the English demonstrative‘he’.


Una Stojnic is a graduate student at Rutgers in philosophy and cognitive science, workingprimarily in philosophy of language, and semantics and pragmatics of naturallanguages. She is particularly interested in the division of labour betweensemantic and pragmatic mechanisms in communication.  She has collaboratedwith Matthew Stone and Ernie Lepore on several papers on demonstratives andanaphora and on interpretation of demonstration and multimodal communication. Una has also worked on the relation between contents of assertions and compositionalsemantic content. Currently, she is working on her dissertation, which is onmodels of context-sensitivity and the impacts of linguistic mechanisms oncontext change and resolution of context-sensitivity. Some of the main researchfoci include anaphora, modality and modal and quantifier subordination.

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