Plural Logic and Sensitivity to Order

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  • Ecole Normale Super


Sentences that exhibit sensitivity to order (e.g. John and Mary arrived at school in that order and Mary and John arrived at school in that order) present a challenge for the standard formulation of plural logic. In response, some authors have advocated new versions of plural logic based on fine-grained notions of plural reference, such as serial reference [Hewitt 2012] and articulated reference [Ben-Yami 2013]. The aim of this article is to show that sensitivity to order should be accounted for without altering the standard formulation of plural logic. In particular, sensitivity to order does not call for a fine-grained notion of plural reference. We point out that the phenomenon in question is quite broad and that current proposals are not equipped to deal with the full range of cases in which order plays a role. Then we develop an alternative and unified account, which locates the phenomenon not in the way in which plural terms can refer, but in the meaning of special expressions such as in that order and respectively.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-464
Number of pages21
JournalAustralasian Journal of Philosophy
Issue number3
Early online date17 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Plural logic, Plural reference, Semantics, Order, Repetition, Respectively