# Modifiers. PHIL October 22, Adjectives... 1

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3 former c M, w, i, g =. The intension of an c like basketball player will be a function from worlds and times to sets of individuals: the set of basketball players at that world and time. This will also be the sort of thing which is the intension of an intersective adjective like yellow. By contrast, the intension of former will be a function from functions from worlds and times to individuals to a function from worlds and times to inviduals just as the intension of necessarily is a function from sentence intensions (which are functions from worlds and times to truth values) to sentence intensions. (ote that in the text former is treated as a member of the same syntactic category as yellow, but given a different type of intension. One might wonder then how we can explain the fact that Bob is yellow is grammatical whereas Bob is former is not. The idea is that this is to be explained by the uninterpretability of the tree corresponding to the latter, rather than by any separate syntactic rule.) 1.3. ubsective adjectives ubsective adjectives like large are in some ways the trickiest ones. On the one hand, we can t treat them like intersective adjectives, since then we would have no explanation for the fact that 3a and 3b don t entail 3c. This might suggest that we should treat them as predicate modifiers, understanding tall midget as meaning, roughly, tall for a midget. We might then assign it an intension which is a function from predicate intensions to predicate intensions, just like former. This runs into two problems. The first is that this assimilation of tall and large to former leaves us with no explanation for the fact that Bob is tall, unlike Bob is former, makes sense. One might try to explain this using the same sort of context-dependence discussed in connection with quantifier domain restriction; but, even if this explains which Bob is tall does makes sense, it does not explain why Bob is former does not. The second is that sometimes tall does not mean the same as tall for an. An example from the text is Joe built a tall snowman. Here, intuitively, whether the sentence is true depends not just on the average height of snowmen, but also on who Joe is: the standards in play might be different depending on whether Joe is a college student or a 5 year old. 3

5 6a. An alleged former spy is in the garden. 6b. A former spy is in the garden and an alleged spy is in the garden. 6c. A former spy is in the garden. 6d. An alleged spy is in the garden. 6e. A spy is in the garden. This suggests that adverbs (at least those used in the 4- sentences) should be assimilated to intersective adjectives. Perhaps, then, their semantic value should be a set of entities. But this leads to a question: what, exactly, should we take these adjectives to be modifying? Consider the sentence Kim kissed Lee, which we can think of as having the tree VP Kim Vt kissed Lee ow consider Kim kissed Lee passionately. Where should passionately be inserted in the tree? One might think that it should combine with the Vt; but kissed is not of the right type. Or we could treat this sentence as conj VP VP Kim Vt Kim be Adj kissed Lee passionate but this won t work, since Kim can kiss Lee passionately even if neither Kim nor Lee is passionate. The same point shows that passionately can t be understood as combining (via the rule for intersective adjectives) with the VP kissed Lee, since that is a set of individuals who kissed Lee and Kim might be in that set, but fail to be in the intersection of that set with the set of passionate things, while Kim kissed Lee passionately is nonetheless true. 5

6 One prominent style of solution to this problem (which is due to the philosopher Donald Davidson) is to say that adverbs modify events. The idea is that a sentence like 4a has a logical form which is roughly like that of e (e is a kissing of Lee by Kim & e is passionate & e is on the mouth) The main virtue of this account is that it neatly predicts the diamond pattern, and appears to give the right truth conditions. A philosophically interesting feature of the account is that it immediately commits us given the truth of some sentences like the 4-sentences to the existence of events, in addition to individuals, functions, and sets of individuals. Even if most adverbs work like intersective adjectives, there appear to be some which work like non-predicative adjectives, as in John allegedly ran the Boston Marathon. Can this sentence be handled using an extension of the Davidsonian event-based semantics? Does it imply that there was an event which was an alleged running of the Boston Marathon? Is it strange to treat the 4- sentences as involving quantification over events, and this sentence as of a completely different form? 6

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