The paper by Fritz Hamm, Hans Kamp and Michiel van Lambalgen (in what follows abbreviated as ‘hkl’) is a very rich one. Not only does it contain a wealth of empirical and formal insights concerning the analysis of tense and aspect, planning and causality, and other phenomena, it also contains some penetrating remarks concerning the scope and method of semantic theory. It is the latter aspect of the paper that I want to make a few comments on in what follows.
The paper addresses the way in which modern linguistics, – in particular, but not exclusively, the generative tradition –, has constructed its core concepts. It argues that a particular form of construction, reminiscent of, but crucially different from, abstraction, which is dubbed ‘idealisation’, plays a central role here. The resemblances and differences between abstractions and idealisations are investigated, and consequences of the reliance on idealisations are reviewed.