29th European Summer School in Logic, Language, and Information
University of Toulouse (France), 17-28 July, 2017

Underlying States

Roger Schwarzschild, Daniel Altshuler

Language and Logic (Advanced)

First week, from 11:00 to 12:30


Montmarquet(1980), Higginbotham(1985), Parsons(1990) and Landman(2000) proposed that stative predicates have underlying states in their semantic representation, thus extending Davidson’s(1967) idea that ‘action’ verbs are predicates of events. Underlying states have been met with a lot of resistance. The goal of this class is to offer two arguments in favor of underlying states. The first argument comes from the anaphoric uses of now. We motivate the view that now picks out the most prominent state, which holds throughout the time specified by the tense. We supplement this analysis with Altshuler & Schwarzschild’s(2012, 2013) semantics of tense which relies on a particular hypothesis about stative predication. The second argument for underlying states comes from the nominal domain and the count/mass distinction in particular. We embrace the hypothesis that mass nouns are plural, but argue that it’s more properly understood in the context of a grammar where nouns are 1-place predicates of states.