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How do we refer to events, facts and states of affairs?

We defend that events, facts and states of affairs are distinct ontological
categories and, thus, must be identified differently. Even though they share some
characteristics, they are different entities. Events, on the one hand, are concrete. Facts
and states of affairs, on the other hand, are abstract. Both events and facts are
contingent, while states of affairs are necessary. Facts and states of affairs result from
the instantiation of a property in different kinds of entities. Facts involve properties,
objects and/or events, while states of affairs involve only properties. Events, however,
do not involve properties. They involve objects and activities. Events and facts are
temporal entities, while states of affairs are atemporal entities. The characteristics they
share and the differences they have are sufficient to defend that they should be
considered different ontological categories.
Once we have provided the ontological criteria, we need to explain how we
describe them and how we refer to them (if we want a full explanation of the differences
between them). In this presentation, we will focus on explaining the last question. We
will try to define which are the terms that allow us to refer to events, facts, and states of
affairs. Since they are all complex entities, we defend that they may all be referred to by
definite phrases that involve a derived noun. The hypothesis is that the derived noun
that is used differs when the entity to which we are referring differs.
Events involve deverbal nominalizations (as talk), and they may also involve
common nouns (as hurricane). Even though there are controversies regarding which
nouns refer to events, it is commonly accepted that at least some deverbal
nominalizations and common nouns refer to them. But, what happens with facts and
states of affairs? We defend that, since they are both abstract, they may be referred to
with similar constructions. They may involve the combination of the gerundive of the
copula plus the adjective that describes the property that is being instantiated (being +
red, or being + different), or they may involve deadjectival nominalizations (redness or
However, things are not as simple as they seem. Since facts appear at all levels
from level 1, many logical properties may involve facts. This implies that in some cases
the same derived noun (as difference) may be used to form a definite determinate phrase
that refers to a fact (the difference between Ana and Martin) or to a state of affairs (the
difference between identity and transitivity). Something else needs to be said, then,
concerning how we refer to facts and states of affairs.
In this presentation, we will focus on these questions and try to provide answers
that allow us to further understand the differences between events, facts and states of
affairs. We will define which are the definite phrases that refer to these entities and in
what aspects they differ.