DAVID BRAUN and JENNIFER SAUL
SIMPLE SENTENCES, SUBSTITUTIONS, AND MISTAKEN
(Received in revised version 4 July 2002)
ABSTRACT. Many competent speakers initially judge that (i) is true and (ii) is
false, though they know that (iii) is true. (i) Superman leaps more tall buildings
than Clark Kent. (ii) Superman leaps more tall buildings than Superman. (iii)
Superman is identical with Clark Kent. Semantic explanations of these intuitions
say that (i) and (ii) really can differ in truth-value. Pragmatic explanations deny
this, and say that the intuitions are due to misleading implicatures. This paper
argues that both explanations are incorrect. (i) and (ii) cannot differ in truth-value,
yet the intuitions are not due to implicatures, but rather to mistakes in evaluating
(i) and (ii).
We’ll begin with some intuitions. First, (1) seems true, while (1*)
(1) Superman leaps more tall buildings than Clark Kent.
(1*) Superman leaps more tall buildings than Superman.
Next, a situation in which (2) is true could, seemingly, be one in
which (2*) is false.
(2) Clark Kent went into a phone booth, and Superman came
(2*) Clark Kent went into a phone booth, and Clark Kent came
The intuitions we have about these sentences are puzzling, because
there are good reasons for thinking that they are correct and also
good reasons for thinking that they are incorrect.
But perhaps you did not have these intuitions.
No matter: it’s
undeniable that many competent, rational, relevantly well-informed
speakers who understand these sentences do have these intuitions, at
Philosophical Studies 111: 1–41, 2002.
© 2002 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.