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Chapter 8 Kearns: Reading guide

Make sure you know what the following concepts mean and how to use them appropriately:

  • entailment
  • adicity (number of arguments) of a predicate
  • event variable
  • thematic role
Make sure you understand:
  • what the problem is with assigning a fixed number of arguments to each predicate in a logical form, and what role entailments play in the argument (section 8.1);
  • how the introduction of an explicit event variable e solves this problem;
  • why the Davidsonian solution is still problematic and what the Neodavidsonian analysis brings;
  • why thematic roles are useful, and how the Neodavidsonian analysis including thematic roles works;
  • why the event variable is existentially quantified. 
Make sure you know how to:
  • formalize a sentence using a Neodavidsonian representation, and in particular using thematic roles, and including tense and NP quantifiers (examples (60-61));
    • warning: watch out for interactions between tense, quantifiers, and the existential quantification over the event variable! (discussion in section 8.5).