A Semantics for Temporally-dependent Referring Expressions
Pascal Denis and Philippe Muller
In this paper, we sketch a new approach to the problem of the temporal interpretation of nominal predicates. The approach differs from previous analyses (e.g., [Enç, 1986], [Musan, 1999], [Tonhauser, 2002]) in that it is grounded in a different ontology, namely one that regards individuals as spatio-temporal entities (a.k.a. 'spatio-temporal worms') ([Heller, 1990], [Sider, 1997], inter alia): roughly, the idea is that individuals have temporal parts (or stages)and are indeed like events, for that matterin the same way they have spatial parts. As we will show, this view, known in the philosophy literature as four-dimensionalism, has interesting repercussions for formal semantics in general, and for the formal treatment of temporal NPs in particular.