Generics in ContextSkip other details (including permanent urls, DOI, citation information)
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This paper has two central goals. The first is to argue for the metaphysical thesis that there is no such phenomenon as genericity, i.e., to argue for a form of eliminativism about genericity. The second is to defend a novel theory of generic sentences on which the unpronounced quantifier expression Gen is an indexical. An important feature of the view is that much of what has appeared to be semantic work is moved into the metasemantics. Rather than create very complex semantic clauses (or construe other complex notions as constitutive of genericity), the proposal is that those complexities are best dealt with in a metasemantic theory. Many of the puzzles which plague theories of generics are treated as instances of more general puzzles having to do with metasemantics and implicit, context-sensitive communication.