Ivano Caponigro
University of California San Diego
Department of Linguistics
La Jolla, CA 92093 - U.S.A.
LIGN 247 / PHIL 234
Spring 2021
Context sensitivity and the appeal of the hidden
Course Schedule Lecture Structure Useful links

Brief course description

This course is a graduate-level seminar on linguistic elements and constructions whose interpretation exhibits sensitivity to the context of utterance that has been accounted for by assuming hidden elements in the linguistic structure. We'll focus on some paradigmatic cases with two main goals: to understand the main aspects of the individual puzzles and to try to look for commonalities in the data, the hidden elements that have been postulated, and/or the nature of the supporting arguments.




Office: AP&M 4131
click here
Phone: (858) 534 7220
Office hours: TBA, by appointment, or just stop by



E-mail: joncohen AT aardvark DOT ucsd DOT edu
Office: H&SS 8072
Office hours: TBA
Phone: (858) 534 6812


Lectures Structure

Wednesday 2-4:50 pm, HSS 7077


Course Details

  • The readings are listed on the schedule below and are available for you to download as pdf files. They are password protected and each of you should have received ID and password from the instructors by e-mail.
  • Readings are required and should be done prior to class.
  • Class participation
  • Readings (a brief question/comment on each paper that you are required to read (but you are not presenting) should be submitted on a piece of paper at the beginning of the class in which the paper is discusssed)
  • Guiding the discussion of two papers among the readings (with handouts and/or slides)
  • In-class presentation of (a preliminary version of) the final paper
  • Final paper: reserach paper not a book report or article review (15-25 pages)



Last update: 08/26/2020

WARNING! If you try to download the password protected material  ID and password are needed from your personal computer with a browser that have the UCSD proxy on, you may get a failure message before even entering your ID and password. Two solutions: 1) use a different browser without a UCSD proxy, or 2) turn off the UCSD proxy on your usual browser so that you can enter your own password for the class website, since apparently the proxy does it automatically.

The schedule below is tentative and will be updated through out the course. Make sure to check it regularly!

Week 1
DayS Class Topics Readings


Week 2
Day Class Topics Readings


Indexicals and demonstratives: character, content, double indexing

  • [Jonathan]
    Kaplan, Demonstratives

    required: Preface, Sections I-VI (both parts), VIII, XI, XIII, XIV, and as much of the formal system and remarks (Sections XVIII-XIX) as you can

    suggested: the whole paper
Week 3
Day Class Topics Readings

Gradable adjectives

Week 4
Day Class Topics Readings

Semantic coercion

Hidden variables and domain restriction


Week 5
Day Class Topics Readings

Diagnostics (I)

Friday 5/4

Relevant philosophy colloquium talk:
Igal Kvart
Rational Assertibility, the Steering Role of Knowledge, and Pragmatic Encroachment [abstract]
4-6 pm, H&SS 7077


Week 6
Day Class Topics Readings

Diagnostics (II)

Week 7
Day Class Topics Readings

Predicates of taste (I)

Week 8
Day Class Topics Readings

Predicates of taste (II)

Contextualism and relativism (I)

Week 9
Day Class Topics Readings

Contextualism and relativism (II)


Week 10
Day Class Topics Readings

Students' presentations of their own papers

Finals week
Day Class Topics Readings
Mon 6/13

Final papers are due by 5 pm to Jonathan or Ivano in person or by e-mail (please send a pdf file if you are choosing the e-mail option)