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New paper: 'Events in Contemporary Semantics'

Posted On: December 24, 2023

'Events in Contemporary Semantics', draft, final version to appear in M. Cassina et al. (eds): 21st-Century Philosophy of Events: Beyond the Analytic / Continental Divide. Edinburgh University Press

Abstract: The aim of this paper is two-fold. First, it will give an overview of the role of events in semantics against the background of Davidsonian semantics and its Neo-Davidsonian variant. Second, it will discuss some serious issues for standard views of events in contemporary semantics and present novel proposals of how to address them. These are [1] the semantic role of abstract (or Kimean) states, [2] wide scope adverbials, and [3] the status of verbs as event predicates with respect to the mass-count distinction. The paper will show that abstract states as the entities described by (most) stative verbs are incompatible with Neo-Davidsonian event semantics and proposes a decompositional analysis of stative verbs that may be able to overcome the difficulty. The paper will argue that in addition to Davidsonian events, the semantics of adverbials requires events as truthmakers as well as actions as more complex entities sharply distinguished from events. The paper will also argue that the verbal domain of events sides with mass nouns rather than dividing into mass and count, unlike event nouns.