Complex Demonstratives

From Contemporary Philosophical Monographs

Complex Demonstratives

A Quantificational Account

By Jeffrey C. King

A Bradford Book





Since the late 1970s, the orthodox view of complex 'that' phrases (e.g., 'that woman eating a granola bar') has been that they are contextually sensitive devices of direct reference. In Complex Demonstratives, Jeffrey King challenges that orthodoxy, showing that quantificational accounts not only are as effective as direct reference accounts but also handle a wider range of data.

After providing arguments against direct reference accounts of 'that' phrases and developing a quantificational theory of them, King looks at the interaction of 'that' phrases with modal operators, negation, and verbs of propositional attitude. He argues for evidence of scope interaction between 'that' phrases and other scoped elements. King also addresses semantic properties of 'that' and other determiners, and the possibility of extending the semantics of 'that' phrases to 'that' as a syntactically simple demonstrative. Finally, he argues against what he calls ambiguity approaches, theories that hold that the various uses of 'that' phrases cannot be treated by a single semantical theory.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262112635 221 pp. | 5.25 in x 9.25 in


$22.00 X ISBN: 9780262611695 221 pp. | 5.25 in x 9.25 in


  • Jeffrey C. King argues, in meticulous and scrupulous style, for the unorthodox thesis that complex phrases such as 'that book' are not pure referential devices, but have a unified, quantificational semantics. Complex Demonstratives is an exemplary scholarly production, going to the heart of inquiry linking the formal properties of human language to more general issues of human thought and communication.

    James Higginbotham

    Professor of Philosophy and Linguistics, University of Southern California

  • The book contains a thorough account of the controversy over the semantics of complex demonstratives, and advances a sophisticated positive theory that will interest everyone working on the semantics of natural language.

    Graeme Forbes

    Department of Philosophy, Tulane University

  • In this extremely clear and closely argued book, Jeffrey C. King claims that the majority view is mistaken: Complex demonstratives (and probably free standing ones) are quantifiers. King's view is ingenious, accounting for both the uses of demonstratives which have led Kaplan and others to take them to be devices of direct reference, as well as more obviously quantificational uses. The marshalling of syntactic and semantic evidence here is impressive; indeed, the book is a model of how one ought to do careful, significant work in semantics. King's view is certain to be the focus of discussion and debate.

    Mark Richard

    Department of Philosophy, Tufts University