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Quantifier Domain Restriction, Hidden Variables and Variadic Functions

Organon F, 2016, vol. 23, No 3, pp. 384-404.
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In this paper I discuss two objections raised against von Fintel’s (1994) and Stanley and Szabó’s (2000a) hidden variable approach to quantifier domain restriction (QDR). One of them concerns utterances of sentences involving quantifiers for which no contextual domain restriction is needed, and the other concerns multiple quantified contexts. I look at various ways in which the approaches could be amended to avoid these problems, and I argue that they fail. I conclude that we need a more flexible account of QDR, one that allows for the hidden variables in the LF responsible for QDR to vary in number. Recanati’s (2002; 2004) approach to QDR, which makes use of the apparatus of “variadic functions”, is flexible enough to account successfully for the two phenomena discussed. I end with a few comments on what I take to be the most promising way to construe variadic functions.

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