Davidsonian and Neo-davidsonian formal semantics is full of templates containing something labelled as Event Argument. For example, In Kratzer (1996, p.1), discussing severing the external argument from its predicate, this sentence is provided:

(1) We bought your slippers in Marrakesh.

The Davidsonian semantics analyze this sentence as:

(1') Ǝe [buy (your slippers) (we) (e) & in(Marrakesh) (e)]

Also in Neo-davidsonian semantics, it's taken as:

(1'') Ǝe [buying(e) & Agent(we)(e) & Theme(your slippers)(e) & in(Marrakesh)(e)]

Why there must be an Event Argument realized with (e) in both (1') and (1'')? Who argued for it in the first place?

  • 1
    I don't know Davidsonian or Neo-davidsonian theory, but it seems obvious to me that the functions buy and buying need to take an event argument, because each instance of buying is an event which you might need to say something else about, eg where or when it took place.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 11:22
  • 1
    Yes, but the 'Where' is already given an argument. It's in Marrakesh with an (e) in both (1') and (1''). But why reduplicating arguments, look at 'Agent', it's already specified as 'we'=argument, but there's an (e) added, again as an argument (event argument), I don't see why.
    – Tsutsu
    Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 11:25
  • But if (e) is not an argument of buy, there's nothing to relate the buy to Marrakesh. There's an event of buying that happens/ed somwhere, and there is an event that takes place in Marrakesh.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 11:38
  • You mean that in (1''), the set elements are related to each other in terms of 'Arguments', i.e., 'e', 'e', 'e', ...etc. ? If yes, but 'e' has no reality in the EVENT that took place. Agent 'we' does, however. Because it refers to US (Humans) who performed the action. 'e' on the other hand has no reference. I'm really lost :(
    – Tsutsu
    Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 11:44
  • 1
    e is a bound variable (as is usual with an existence statement). "There exists an event e such that e is an event of buying (with we as the agent) and e took place in Marrakesh".
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 13:18


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