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Linguistic Inquiry

Fall 2008, Vol. 39, No. 4, Pages 655-667
(doi: 10.1162/ling.2008.39.4.655)
© 2008 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Temperature Paradox and Temporal Interpretation
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Montague's analysis of the well-known temperature paradox poses a problem for Gupta's syllogism, whose surface syntax differs from that of the temperature syllogism by the addition of the intensional adverb necessarily. Lasersohn (2005) argues that the puzzle arising from these syllogisms can be solved if one adopts the Fregean presuppositional treatment of definite descriptions, and he concludes that the temperature-Gupta puzzle provides an argument in favor of such treatment. This article shows that the analysis of definite descriptions is in fact orthogonal to the puzzle. Instead, the differences between the two syllogisms turn out to stem from the temporal interpretation of their premises.