Names of Institutions


names of institutions
dot-type semantics
many aspect-words
direct reference



This paper advances the thesis that the proper names of some institutions, such as the names of universities, heads of state and certain positions or agencies, inherit the linguistic types of the nouns which denote the basic category of the objects that the names refer to, e.g., “university”, “school” or “company”. A reference by those names may select particular aspects of institutions, in the same way that “city” or “book” selects the physical, legal or informational aspects of objects in the extension of the nouns. This view is based on Asher’s and Pustejovsky’s conception of dot-type semantics.



Abbott, B. (2013). Linguistic Solutions to Philosophical Problems: The Case of Knowing How. Philosophical Perspectives, 27(1), 1–21.

Arapinis, A. (2013). Referring to Institutional Entities: Semantic and Ontological Perspectives. Applied Ontology, 8(1), 31–57.

Arapinis, A., Vieu, L. (2015). A Plea for Complex Categories in Ontologies. Applied Ontology, 10(3–4), 285–296.

Asher, N. (2011). Lexical Meaning in Context: A Web of Words. Cambridge: CUP.

Asher, N., Pustejovsky, J. (2000). The Metaphysics of Words in Context. Retrieved from:

Asher, N., Pustejovsky, J. (2005). Word Meaning and Commonsense Metaphysics. Retrieved from:

Baker, L. R. (2004). The Ontology of Artifacts. Philosophical Explorations, 7(2), 99–112.

Banaś, P. (in press). Semantics of Institutional Names. In T. Gizbert-Studnicki, F. Poggi, I. Skoczeń (Eds.), Interpretivism and the Limits of Law. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Bosch, P. (2007). Productivity, Polysemy and Predicate Indexicality. In H. Zeevat, B. ten Cate (Eds.), Proceedings of the Sixth International Tbilisi Symposium on Language, Logic and Computation (pp. 58–71). Dordrecht: Springer.

Burazin, L. (2016). Can There Be an Artifact Theory of Law. Ratio Juris, 29(3), 385–401.

Carston, R. (2012). Word Meaning and Concept Expressed. The Linguistic Review, 29(4). 607–623.

Charles University. (n.d.). Retrieved from:

Chomsky, N. (2000). New Horizons in the Study of Language and Mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Copestake, A. & Briscoe, T. (1995). Semi-Productive Polysemy and Sense Extension. Journal of Semantics, 12(1), 15–67.

Cruse, D. A. (1986). Lexical Semantics. Cambridge: CUP.

Cruse, D. A. (2000). Meaning in Language. An Introduction to Semantics and Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dölling, J. (2021). Systematic Polysemy. In D. Gutzmann, L. Matthewson, C. Meier, H. Rullmann, Th. E. Zimmermann (Eds.), The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Semantics (pp. 2975–3001). Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.

Duží, M., Jespersen, B., Materna, P. (2010). Procedural Semantics for Hyperintensional Logic: Foundations and Applications of Transparent Intensional Logic. Berlin: Springer Science & Business Media.

Frisson, S. (2009). Semantic Underspecification in Language Processing. Language and Linguistics Compass, 3(1), 111–127.

Gawthorne, D. (2013). Fictionalising Jurisprudence: An Introduction to Strong Legal Fictionalism. Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy, 38, 52–73.

Hilpinen, R. (1992). On Artifacts and Works of Art. Theoria, 58(1), 58–82.

Hilpinen, R. (2011). Artifact. In E. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from:

Kijania-Placek, K. (2018). Can Minimalism About Truth Embrace Polysemy? Synthese, 195, 955–985.

Kijania-Placek, K. (2021). Names of Places. Semiotica, 2021(240), 187–210.

Kijania-Placek, K., Banaś, P. (2021). Deferred Reference of Proper Names. Journal of Semantics, 38(2). 195–219.

Ludwig, K. (2017). From Plural to Institutional Agency: Collective Action II. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Marmor, A. (2014). The Language of Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Miller, S. (2019). Social Institutions. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from:

Nunberg, G. (1979). The Non–Uniqueness of Semantic Solutions: Polysemy. Linguistics and Philosophy, 3(2). 143–184.

Nunberg, G. (1993). Indexicality and Deixis. Linguistics and Philosophy, 16(1). 1–43.

Nunberg, G. (1995). Transfers of Meaning. Journal of Semantics, 12(2). 109–132.

Ortega-Andrés, M., Vicente, A. (2019). Polysemy and Co-predication. Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics, 4(1). doi:10.5334/gjgl.564

Pustejovsky, J. (1995). The Generative Lexicon. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Pustejovsky, J. (1998). The Semantics of Lexical Underspecification. Folia Linguistica, 32(3–4), 323–347.

Pustejovsky, J. (2005). A Survey of Dot Objects. Retrieved from:

Searle, J. R. (1995). The Construction of Social Reality. New York: The Free Press.

Searle, J. R. (2010). Making the Social World: The Structure of Human Civilization. New York: Oxford University Press.

Soames, S. (2002). Beyond Rigidity: The Unfinished Semantic Agenda of Naming and Necessity. New York: Oxford University Press.

The International Court of Justice. (n.d.). Retrieved from:

The Court. (n.d.). Retrieved from:

Thomasson, A. L. (2003). Realism and Human Kinds. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 67(3), 580–609.

Thomasson, A. L. (2007). Artifacts and Human Concepts. In E. Margolis, S. Laurence (Eds.), Creations of the Mind: Theories of Artifacts and Their Representation (pp. 52–73). New York: Oxford University Press.

Thomasson, A. L. (2009a). Artifacts in Metaphysics. In A. W. M. Meijers (Ed.), Philosophy of Technology and Engineering Sciences (pp. 191–212). Amster¬dam: Elsevier.

Thomasson, A. L. (2009b). Social Entities. In R. Le Poidevin, P. Simons, A. McGonigal, R. P. Cameron (Eds.), Routledge Companion to Metaphysics (pp. 545–554). London: Routledge.

Thomasson, A. L. (2014). Public Artifacts, Intentions, and Norms. In M. Franssen, P. Kroes, T. Reydon, P. E. Vermaas (Eds.), Artefact Kinds: Ontology and the Human-Made World (pp. 45–62). Heidelberg: Springer.

Tichý, P. (1988). The Foundations of Frege’s Logic. Berlin, New York: De Gruyter.

University of Padua. (n.d.). Retrieved from:

Weinberger, O. (1991). Law, Institution and Legal Politics: Fundamental Problems of Legal Theory and Social Philosophy. Dordrecht: Kluwer.