I'm self-studying Kearns(2011), and here are two tricky questions I'm really curious about. I asked my classmates but they failed to answer it too. We really don't know how the first sentence can have another meaning, and we even couldn't figure out the meaning of the second question. Could you give some guidance? Thank you in advance!

(1)The following sentence is scopally ambiguous. Give the formulae for both readings.

Clive wants to read the book that June is reading.

(2) Ralph thinks that the man who lives upstairs from him is a spy. Ralph is a little paranoid – the flat upstairs is empty, and the noises Ralph hears on the stairs are merely a poltergeist. Does the sentence below encounter problems through the existential commitment of the?

Ralph thinks that the man who lives upstairs is a spy.

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    (1) can mean that June is reading a particular book at the moment and Clive wants to read it, or that whatever book June happens to be reading at any given time, Clive always wants to read it. The second question is asking whether Ralph THINKS that the man who lives upstairs... involves a commitment to the existence of a man upstairs, and if so whether that is a problem, given that the flat is actually empty but for a poltergeist.
    – rchivers
    Oct 31 '20 at 14:38
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    For the first question, the key point is that Clive may have wrong ideas about which book June is reading and thus about what she wants; does "the book" refer to the actual book June is reading (de re) or Clive's idea of what she's reading (de dicto)?
    – lemontree
    Oct 31 '20 at 15:35
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    For the second question, the problem is that the man who lives upstairs doesn't actually exist (but Ralph thinks he does), so how to apply "the"?
    – lemontree
    Oct 31 '20 at 15:37
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    If it's OK to posit a poltergeist, why isn't it OK for Ralph to posit a man upstairs? This one is a pretty opaque example, referentially speaking.
    – jlawler
    Oct 31 '20 at 16:42
  • @lemontree♦ Thank you for your reply very much! For the first question, I tried to write down the formulae according to the tips you provided :) Is this what you mentioned? (a) de dicto: WANT TO READ(c, [The x: BOOK(x) & READ(j, x)]) "Clive has a thought of reading the book that June is reading." (b) de re: [The x: BOOK(x) & READ(j, x)] WANT TO READ(c, x) "The speaker reports Clive’s aspiration to read the book."
    – ronghe
    Nov 2 '20 at 14:23

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