Instance Plane figure 8.3. Type vs. instance.

configuration, a full noun phrase or a finite clause incorporating grounding, that reference to an actual individual is achieved. Thus (ii)(a) makes reference to an actual instance of loving involving an actual cat. However, nouns and verbs are often used alone, without grounding. This is usual, for example, in both compounding and morphological derivation. In (ii)(b), no particular cat is being referred to, and no particular instance of loving. Linguistic reference to these entities remains at the type level. Still, the sentence is a statement about actuality, where Sarah supposedly does engage in the process of loving with respect to actual cats. While the statement is concerned with actuality, the entities it refers to directly for this purpose -namely cat and love - are virtual in nature (types). To grasp the expression's overall import, we must apprehend not only what is directly coded linguistically, but also how the virtual entities invoked are connected to actuality.

(ii)(a) Sarah loves this cat. (b) Sarah is a cat-lover.

Note that the lower plane in Figure 8.3 is labeled the "instance plane" rather than the "actual plane." I use this label because the type/instance distinction is not the same as the virtual/actual distinction. It is true that types are virtual entities, but instances do not have to be actual - they can either be actual or virtual. We have already seen this in regard to the indefinite article, in (4) and Figure 8.1. In (4) [Joe wants to meet an actress], the actress is described linguistically by means of a full noun phrase, incorporating a grounding element (the article). The phrase an actress designates an instance of the actress type. This is common to both the specific and the nonspecific interpretations.4 The contrast resides in where the instance is located - whether it only occurs in the mental space representing Joe's desire, or whether it also occurs in reality (which for our purposes is equivalent to what I am calling actuality). Thus, on the nonspecific interpretation the actress referred to is a virtual or fictive instance of the actress type,

4 By contrast, Joe has an actress fetish makes reference to actress only at the type level.

whereas on the specific interpretation it is an actual instance. A virtual instance of a type can be characterized as a nonactual instance "conjured up" for a special purpose, with no status outside the mental space (or plane) constructed for that purpose.

Linguistic reference to virtual instances of a type is extremely prevalent. Suppose, for example, that in my class there were three occasions in which a student asked a question which turned out to be quite insightful. Three different students were involved, and three different questions. One possible description of this scenario is (i2)(a), where students and questions naturally occur in the plural, since multiple students and multiple questions figured in the events reported. This is a fairly direct description of the actual occurrences, summarized over the three specific events. However, I could also describe exactly the same scenario using (i2)(b). What is striking here is that student and question occur in the singular, even though I am reporting on a complex occurrence involving three of each. How can that be?

(i2)(a) Three times, students asked intelligent questions. (b) Three times, a student asked an intelligent question.

The answer, I suggest, is that we capture a generalization over the three occurrences and describe it by means of a fictive event representing the commonality of the three actual events. The student directly referred to in (i2)(b) is not any one of the actual students involved, but a fictive student conjured up to make the generalization. The question described in (i2)(b) is likewise a virtual question rather than any of the actual ones, and the profiled event of asking is also virtual. It is this fictive event involving virtual instances of the student and question types that is directly coded linguistically. How this virtual event maps onto actuality is specified by the initial adverbial expression, three times. The overall meaning of the sentence comprises both the fictive event described and the nature of its connection to actuality, so specified. In Figure 8.4, the fictive profiled event is shown as occupying what is termed a generalization plane. The label reflects the nature of its origin: it is abstracted from actuality as a generalization over

figure 8.4. Fictive referents in a generalization.

Structural Plane

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