Schlenker, P.: to appear, "Generalized Bishop Sentences" [Squib]. Accepted for publication in Snippets.

 [Full paper in pdf]

Abstract:    It is often thought that ‘bishop’ sentences (e.g. A bishop met a bishop, and he blessed him) provide an important argument for dynamic theories and against E-type theories of unbound anaphora. In a nutshell, the problem for E-type approaches is that the two 'bishop' antecedents play such symmetric roles that pronouns-as-descriptions have trouble distinguishing their denotations. But we argue that dynamic theories are faced with a similar problem in a minimally different example: At least two bishops (each) met at least two bishops, and they (each) blessed them. The source of the difficulty is that numerals such as at least two give rise to maximal readings. Dynamic theories can handle them by positing maximality conditions either in the semantics of  pronouns, or of quantifiers. Either way, the pronoun they ends up denoting the maximal set of bishops who each met at least two bishops. If the sentence is true, this set must include at least four bishops – and there must be at least four blessings, which goes against intuition.