Abstract objects of verbs

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Verbs do often take arguments of quite different types. In an orthodox type-theoretic framework this results in an extreme polysemy of many verbs. In this article, it is shown that this unwanted consequence can be avoided when a theory of “abstract objects” is adopted according to which these objects represent non-objectual entities in contexts from which they are excluded by type restrictions. Thus these objects are “abstract” in a functional rather than in an ontological sense: they function as representatives of other entities but they are otherwise quite normal objects. Three examples of such a representation are considered: the denotations of that-phrases are objects representing propositions, generic noun phrases denote objects standing for sorts, and infinitivals are viewed as denoting objects representing attributes, i.e., the “ordinary” meanings of verb phrases.


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