A flexible scope theory of intensionality

Patrick D. Elliott

Abstract. Extant attempts to incorporate intensionality into the grammar either systematically over-generate, or systematically under-generate. In this paper, building on Keshet 2011, we aim to reconcile a scopal account of de re with the possibility of de re readings out of scope islands. Building on compositional techniques for deal ing with exceptionally scoping indefinites (Charlow 2014, 2019), we develop an intensional grammar in which exceptional de re is achieved via cyclic scope. World-sensitive expressions are converted into scope-takers via a constrained inventory of type-flexible operators. Type flexibility explains the possibility of apparently island-violating de re by predicting the possibility of cyclic scope-taking. We argue that the resulting theory – which we dub the flexible scope theory – is sufficiently expressive to address the under-generation issues of current accounts, while still capturing constraints on de re in an explanatory fashion.

Keywords: intensionality de re, de dicto, monads, scope, islands, semantics

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