Todd Snider: The Semantics of Anaphora

Anaphors are words whose reference is fixed in context, the most well known class of these being pronouns. In this course, we will explore a number of puzzles in the semantic interpretation of such expressions in natural language, as well as a wide range of solutions which have been proposed to deal with these puzzles. Among the puzzles we’ll discuss are donkey sentences, bishop sentences, and cross-sentential anaphora, and the solutions will include both static and dynamic semantic systems, including Discourse Representation Theory and Dynamic Predicate Logic. Because most of the literature in this area focuses on anaphora to individuals (including, for instance, most work on pronouns), most of our attention will be on individual anaphora as well, but we will also discuss other kinds of anaphora: anaphora to events, propositions, tenses, and modalities.