According to intentionalism, the semantic reference of the uses of demonstratives is fixed, at least partly, by the speaker’s referential intention. In this paper, I argue against the possibility of the existence of a semantic convention of this sort. My argument is placed in the Lewisian framework of signaling games and consists of several steps that correspond to four anti-intentionalist arguments, already present in the literature, that have proven inconclusive when employed separately and without being set in the mentioned framework.
There’s a long but relatively neglected tradition of attempting to explain why many researchers working on the nature of phenomenal consciousness think that it’s hard to explain.1 David Chalmers argues that this “meta-problem of consciousness” merits more attention than it has received. He also argues against several existing explanations of why we find consciousness hard to explain. Like Chalmers, we agree that the meta-problem is worthy of more attention. Contra Chalmers, however, we argue that there’s an existing explanation that is (...) more promising than his objections suggest. We argue that researchers find phenomenal consciousness hard to explain because phenomenal concepts are complex demonstratives that encode the impossibility of explaining consciousness as one of their application conditions. (shrink)
The debate over the semantics of demonstratives is in a stalemate between those positions attributing some referential significance to a speaker's referential intentions and those not doing so. The latter approach is supported by cases driving the non-intentional intuition in which the speakers mistakenly point at objects other than the ones they intend to refer to. The intentionalists, such as Martin Montminy, reply that once we think of potential extensions of such cases in which the speaker explains to the hearer (...) what her referential intention was, it is the intentionalist intuition that prevails. In this paper, I develop a semantics for demonstratives whose task is to accommodate both of these seemingly contradictory intuitions within the general non-intentionalist framework. The proposed idea is that the reference of a use of a demonstrative can change over time, as the discourse develops. This idea is handled formally by the addition of a parameter of the index of evaluation that represents the referentially relevant aspects of the state of the discourse. Also, I provide reasons for preferring my view over two rival positions: one by Palle Leth, and one that I adjust to the demands of the semantics of demonstratives from the theory that Kai von Fintel and Anthony Gillies offer for epistemic modals, and from Laura Delgado's polyreferentialism for proper names. (shrink)
The paper aims to add contextual dependence to the new directival theory of meaning, a functional role semantics based on Kazimierz Ajdukiewicz’s directival theory of meaning. We show that the original formulation of the theory does not have a straight answer on how the meaning of indexicals and demonstratives is established. We illustrate it in the example of some problematic axiomatic and inferential directives containing indexicals. We show that the main reason why developing the new directival theory of meaning in (...) this direction is difficult is that the theory focuses on the notion of a sentence (and not the notion of an utterance). To add the latter notion to the theory, we introduce the idea of admissible contextual distribution being an interpretation of the hybrid expression view on indexicals and demonstratives. We argue that this idea introduces a small but important modification to the concept of language matrix and gives way to define two distinct concepts of meaning: for an expression type and for a use of an expression type. (shrink)
In this critical notice we review Bozickovic's recent attempt to settle two interrelated issues: (i) the issue of the cognitive significance of indexical thoughts expressed at a time in the face of difficulties posed by cases in which the subject either mistakes two objects for one or one for two different objects; (ii) that of the cognitive dynamics of temporal indexical thoughts in the face of difficulties posed by cases in which the belief seems to be retained while the proper (...) adjustments fail to be made (that is, in cases such as Rip Van Winkle's). We argue that, despite its elegance and merits, the proposal falls short of accounting for the problematic cases in their full complexity. For one thing, the intended non-modal construal of Frege's Criterion of Difference promoted by Bozickovic does not block, in our view, the "proliferation" of senses brought about by the occasion-sensitivity of the individuation of demonstrative thoughts. For another, the proposal fails to appreciate the need for the subject to have an adequate conception of the object of her thought when it comes to orienting herself in space and time. That being so, we conclude that neither (i) nor (ii) is settled. (shrink)
There are at least three interpretations that attempt to read from the Sense-Certainty Chapter a Hegelian theory of indexicals. First, the Impossibility of Singular Reference Reading understands Hegel as excluding in principle the possibility of any linguistic cognition of individuals. Second, the Theory of Reference Reading criticizes the first reading and interprets from Hegel the classical idea of direct reference theory. Third, Brandom’s Anaphoric Theory Reading suggests an alternative explanation while still defending the possibility of knowledge of individuals in Hegel. (...) I criticize the first two readings and argue that the third is the most exegetically and philosophically adequate interpretation. The first interpretation attempts to ascribe to Hegel a sort of skepticism, but this can be at most in a very restricted sense successful and the skepticism constructed in such a way is too trivial to refute Hegel’s position. The second reading is more adequate in that it does not fall into the error that the first one committed, but is still flawed because it introduces a subject-object or mind-world dualism that Hegel denies. The third reading has great advantages compared to the first two readings in terms that it provides a suitable account of indexical knowledge on individuals while avoiding skepticism and dualism which arise in the former readings. (shrink)
Filipe Martone argues that reference-fixing intentions where the intended object is represented by means of a description can never fix the reference of a demonstrative, and that a speaker, as a matter of empirical fact, never has simultaneous perceptual and non-perceptual reference-fixing intentions that she can intend as fixing the reference of a demonstrative. In this note I reject Martone’s arguments for these claims.
What determines the meaning of a context-sensitive expression in a context? It is standardly assumed that, for a given expression type, there will be a unitary answer to this question; most of the literature on the subject involves arguments designed to show that one particular metasemantic proposal is superior to a specific set of alternatives. The task of the present essay will be to explore whether this is a warranted assumption, or whether the quest for the one true metasemantics might (...) be a Quixotic one. We argue that there are good reasons—much better than are commonly appreciated—for thinking the latter, but that there nevertheless remains significant scope for metasemantic theorizing. We conclude by outlining our preferred option, metasemantic pluralism. (shrink)
Nguyen argues that only his radically pragmatic account and Sterken’s indexical account can capture what we call the positive data. We present some new data, which we call the negative data, and argue that no theory of generics on the market is compatible with both the positive data and the negative data. We develop a novel version of the indexical account and show that it captures both the positive data and the negative data. In particular, we argue that there is (...) a semantic constraint that, in any context, the semantic value of GEN is upward monotone and non-symmetric. On the other hand, the pragmatic account has difficulty accommodating the negative data. This is because no pragmatic principles have been developed that can explain the negative data. In the paper, we focus on only the pragmatic account and the indexical account, but our discussion has broad implications for the debate on generics: any empirically adequate accounts of generics must be flexible enough to accommodate the positive data and yet constrained enough to accommodate the negative data. (shrink)
A well-known problem seems to beset views on which humans are essentially material, but where I can survive my death: they seem incoherent or reducible to substance dualism. Thomas Aquinas held a unique hylomorphic view of the human person as essentially composed of body and soul, but where the human soul can survive the death of the body. ‘Survivalists’ have argued that, post mortem, a human person comes to be composed of their soul alone. ‘Corruptionists’ point to Thomas’ texts, where (...) he claims that the human person ceases to exist at death and only a part of one – albeit a special part – persists. With some help from Elizabeth Anscombe, I show that a denial of the semantic and metaphysical assumptions made by both parties on that point gives us a much better solution to the controversy over the personality of the separated soul. (shrink)
I reply to comments and criticism of my book Roads to Reference by Scott Soames (on the referents of ordinary substance terms and the conventions governing reference fixing for demonstratives, proper names, and color adjectives), Panu Raatikainen (on the exact scope of my critique of descriptivism and on the relation between referential indeterminacy and ‘‘partial reference’’), and Michael Devitt (on the role of referential intentions and anti-descriptivism in the metasemantics of demonstratives).
Starting with Gareth Evans, there’s an important tradition of theorizing about perception-based demonstrative thought which assigns necessary epistemic conditions to it. Its core idea is that demonstrative reference in thought is grounded in information links, understood as links which carry reliable information about their targets and which a subject exploits for demonstrative reference by tokening the mental files fed by these links. Perception, on these views, is not fundamental to perception-based demonstrative thought but is only the information link exploited in (...) these cases. Evans himself assigns a further epistemic condition, while more recently Imogen Dickie has expanded the reliability requirement into a more complex account centered around justification. In this paper I synthesize three central proponents of this approach and show that the epistemic conditions they place on perception-based demonstrative thought are not actually required. My argument gives two examples in which there is perceptual contact with an object but this perceptual contact fails to do the epistemic work in question. The first case is stimulus-incorporating dream experiences, the second involves multimodal binding failures. I argue that this perceptual contact still affords demonstrative thought in these cases. (shrink)
Recently, philosophers have offered compelling reasons to think that demonstratives are best represented as variables, sensitive not to the context of utterance, but to a variable assignment. Variablists typically explain familiar intuitions about demonstratives—intuitions that suggest that what is said by way of a demonstrative sentence varies systematically over contexts—by claiming that contexts initialize a particular assignment of values to variables. I argue that we do not need to link context and the assignment parameter in this way, and that we (...) would do better not to. (shrink)
In this paper, we defend that demonstratives are expressions of joint attention. Though this idea is not exactly new in the philosophical or linguistic literature, we argue here that their proponents have not yet shown how to incorporate these observations into more traditional theories of demonstratives. Our purpose is then to attempt to fill this gap. We argue that coordinated attentional activities are better integrated into a full account of demonstratives as meta-pragmatic information. Our claim is twofold. First, we claim (...) that pragmatically presupposing salience is a fundamental aspect of using demonstratives. Secondly, we hold that the pragmatics of demonstrating can only be properly understood in relation to meta-pragmatic conditions that have to do with joint attention. We use tests of truth-value gap as evidence for our claim. Our proposal provides us with a complete view of what speakers do and presuppose when engaging in acts of demonstrative reference through language. (shrink)
The article presents two concepts of indexicality. The first, more standard and narrow, identifies indexicality with systematic (meaning controlled) context-sensitivity. The second, broader (derived from the work of Jerzy Pelc), conceives indexicality in terms of the potential variability of the general semiotic characteristics expressions (with respect to the context of use). The text introduces the concept of a pragmatic matrix that serves for a schematic representation of contextual variation. I also recapitulate briefly the views of Jerzy Pelc on the meaning (...) (manner of use) and use of expressions, and briefly indicate its relationship approaches with contemporary debates around contextualism and status of non-sentential speech acts. Finally, the relationship between the broader notion of indexicality and the directival theory of meaning is analyzed. (shrink)
This paper deals with the semantic theory of indexicality expressed in Logical Investigations, integrating it with some aspects of John Perry’s work on the same topic. My intention is to show some unexpected affinities between these two studies and draw attention to the value of their different conclusions. In particular, I will refer to the problem of the role of intuition to understand whether and in which sense the context of utterance is semantically determining within the expressive act. Moreover I (...) will try to clarify the way the indexical meaning is described by Husserl and Perry: their solutions are similar as far as they split the meaning sphere in a twofold partition – roughly consisting of a descriptive and indicating part on one hand, and a content on the other one – but nevertheless different because of the ontological status granted to the content. This will appear to be related to the different way they interpret their common choice to make the act, and not the object, the key of the argument. (shrink)
How is it that words come to stand for the things they stand for? Is the thing that a word stands for - its reference - fully identified or described by conventions known to the users of the word? Or is there a more roundabout relation between the reference of a word and the conventions that determine or fix it? Do words like 'water', 'three', and 'red' refer to appropriate things, just as the word 'Aristotle' refers to Aristotle? If so, (...) which things are these, and how do they come to be referred to by those words? -/- In Roads to Reference, Mario Gómez-Torrente provides novel answers to these and other questions that have been of traditional interest in the theory of reference. The book introduces a number of cases of apparent indeterminacy of reference for proper names, demonstratives, and natural kind terms, which suggest that reference-fixing conventions for them adopt the form of lists of merely sufficient conditions for reference and reference failure. He then provides arguments for a new anti-descriptivist picture of those kinds of words, according to which the reference-fixing conventions for them do not describe their reference. This book also defends realist and objectivist accounts of the reference of ordinary natural kind nouns, numerals, and adjectives for sensible qualities. According to these accounts these words refer, respectively, to 'ordinary kinds', cardinality properties, and properties of membership in intervals of sensible dimensions, and these things are fixed in subtle ways by associated reference-fixing conventions. (shrink)
De se attitudes seem to play a special role in action and cognition. This raises a challenge to the traditional way in which mental attitudes have been understood. In this chapter, we review the case for thinking that de se attitudes require special theoretical treatment and discuss various ways in which the traditional theory can be modified to accommodate de se attitudes.
Timothy Williamson has argued that, unless the speech act of assertion were supposed to be governed by his so-called Knowledge Rule, one could not explain why sentences of the form "A and I do not know that A" are unassertable. This paper advances three objections against that argument, of which the first two aim to show that, even assuming that Williamson's explanandum has been properly circumscribed, his explanation would not be correct, and the third aims to show that his explanandum (...) has not been properly circumscribed. (shrink)
Decision theorists and philosophers of language have a lot to learn from one another. In the first of this two-part series, Anna Mahtani looks at the use and interpretation of credences and preferences.
In this paper, I assess whether indexical attitudes, e.g. beliefs and desires, have any special properties or present any special challenge to theories of propositional attitudes. I being by investigating the claim that allegedly problematic indexical cases are just instances of the familiar phenomenon of referential opacity. Regardless of endorsing that claim, I provide an argument to the effect that indexical attitudes do have a special property. My argument relies on the fact that one cannot account for what is it (...) to share someone else’s indexical attitudes without rejecting some plausible thesis about propositional attitudes. In the end, I assess Herman Cappelen and Josh Dever’s considerations on intentional action and extract an argument from them that could – if successful – neutralize my own. I finish by arguing that their argument has an important flaw, thus failing to convince us that indexical attitudes are just as ordinary as any other. (shrink)
Cappelen and Dever have recently defended the view that indexicals are not essential: They do not signify anything philosophically deep and we do not need indexicals for any important philosophical work. This paper contests their view from the point of view of an account of intentional agency. It argues that we need indexicals essentially when accounting for what it is do something intentionally and, as a consequence, intentional action, and defends a view of intentional action as a possible conclusion of (...) practical reasoning where the indexical is essential for the content of such a conclusion. (shrink)
Responding to Cappelen and Dever’s claim that there is no distinctive role for perspectivality in epistemology, I argue that facts about the outcomes of one’s own reasoning processes may have a different evidential significance than facts about the outcomes of others’.
In this paper I provide a semantic analysis of non-specific uses of indexical expressions, such as "you" in typical utterances of "you just can't tell". My treatment employs independently motivated conceptual tools, such as the treatment of generics within Discourse Representation Theory, and the distinction between context of utterance and context of interpretation.
In this essay I propose a semantic analysis of impersonal uses of ‘you’, and related uses of other indexical expressions. The framework I employ is Kaplan’s classic analysis of indexical languages, enriched with independently motivated hypotheses about the identification of the semantically relevant context, and about the employment of generic expressions.
The following investigation raises the question of indexicality’s phenomenological sense by tracing the development of this problem in Husserl’s phenomenology, starting with its emergence in the first of the Logical Investigations. In contrast to the standard approach, which confines the problem of indexicality to its treatment in the Logical Investigations, I argue against Husserl’s early solution, claiming that, from a specifically phenomenological perspective, the so-called “replaceability thesis” is unwarranted. I further show that Husserl himself unequivocally rejected his early solution in (...) his revisions of the Logical Investigations, although, admittedly, he never replaced his old conception with a new one. Thus, my central task here is that of reconstructing the main contours of Husserl’s new approach to indexicality. Following Husserl’s suggestion that the discovery of the horizon puts phenomenology in the position to actually solve the problem of indexicals, I trace the development of the horizon-intentionality in Husserl’s writings and show how the dynamic structure of the horizon invites the question of the genesis of expressibility. At the beginning of this reconstructive story lies Husserl’s discovery of the noema in Ideas I: this notion, whose discovery goes hand-in-hand with that of the horizon, recasts the problem of indexicals in a new light and brings the realisation that both subjective and objective expressions have the same subjective origins of sense. Yet for Husserl, the horizon is not only the horizon of objects, but also the horizon of the world. In the final analysis, the presence of indexicals in scientific discourse proves to be a faint echo of the life-world from which scientific discourse springs. (shrink)
We can increase our understanding of expression by considering an analogy to demonstrative reference. The connections between a demonstrative phrase and its referent, in a case of fully successful communication with that phrase, are analogous to the connections between an expressible state and the behavior that expresses it. The connections in each case serve to maintain a certain status for the connected elements: as actions of persons; or as objects, events, or states significant to persons. The analogy to demonstrative reference (...) helps show that a positive account of expression can make conceptual connections between expressed states and expressive behaviors without courting reductive behaviorism. A general account of expression as marked by these connections is compared to accounts of expression offered by Dorit Bar-On and Mitchell Green. Bar-On’s account turns out to be compatible with the account proposed here, once some of its consequences are fully appreciated. Green’s account rules out, as not expressive, some behaviors like crouching (in fear) that intuitively seem expressive. When Green’s account is altered to allow such behaviors back in, the resulting account also fits the one proposed. (shrink)
In this article I offer an explanation of the need for contingent propositions in language. I argue that contingent propositions are required if and only if there is a need for propositions which can be both true and false in different circumstances. Indexical expressions enable the same proposition to be expressed in different contexts, thus allowing it to be both true and false. Examination of the different indexical expressions shows that temporal indexical expressions are the ones that do this. Furthermore, (...) describing the change in the temporal A-determinations of past, present, or future, requires using contingent propositions. The conclusion of this article is that change in the temporal A-determinations is the explanation for the need for contingent propositions in language. (shrink)
Often those attempting to resolve the answering machine paradox appeal to Kaplan's claim that the objects of semantic evaluation are expression-types evaluated with respect to indices, instead of utterances, as part of their solution. This article argues that Dylan Dodd and Paula Sweeney exemplify the kind of mistakes theorists make in applying such expression-based semantic theories in that they conflate what is asserted with semantic content, and they take their approach to utterance interpretation as having semantic significance. In light of (...) these mistakes, we learn two things. First, we learn how expression-based semantic theorists can avoid making these kinds of mistakes. Second, we learn how the limits of expression-based semantics can contribute to what we should expect a semantic theory to explain regarding how semantics fits into a more general theory of linguistic communication and linguistic understanding. (shrink)
The received view about indexicals holds that they are directly referential expressions, and that the semantic contribution of an indexical consists of that thing or individual to which the indexical refers in the context of its utterance. The aim of this paper is to put forward a different picture. I argue that direct reference and indexicality are distinct and separate phenomena, even if they cooccur often. Still, it is the speaker who directly refers to the things that she is talking (...) about, and those things matter for the truth of her utterance. Indexicals, on the other hand, merely help the interpreter identify the speaker's intended reference. Typically, indexicals encode descriptive conditions that the context must meet to make the utterance true. For example, the demonstrative 'this' encodes the condition that the subject matter, ie that about which one is talking, should be salient and proximal to the speaker. The semantic contribution of an indexical, I suggest, consists precisely of such descriptive conditions. I will offer a formal account, dubbed contextual update semantics, and show how it captures the main conceptual motivation and how it handles embedded indexicals, which may seem problematic at a first glance. (shrink)
This paper argues that Michael Dummett's proposed distinction between a declarative sentence's "assertoric content" and "ingredient sense" is not in fact supported by what Dummett presents as paradigmatic evidence in its support.
According to Frege, neither demonstratives nor indexicals are singular terms; only a demonstrative together with ‘circumstances accompanying its utterance’ has sense and singular reference. While this view seems defensible for demonstratives, where demonstrations serve as non-verbal signs, indexicals, especially pure indexicals like ‘I’, ‘here’, and ‘now’, seem not to be in need of completion by circumstances of utterance. In this paper I argue on the basis of independent reasons that indexicals are in fact in need of completion; I identify the (...) completers as uses of circumstances of utterance by the speaker; and I show how these uses together with the utterance of indexical sentences express thoughts. The starting point of the paper is a criticism of Kripke’s and Künne’s alternative treatment of indexicals in Frege’s framework. (shrink)
Demonstratives and Indexicals In the philosophy of language, an indexical is any expression whose content varies from one context of use to another. The standard list of indexicals includes pronouns such as “I”, “you”, “he”, “she”, “it”, “this”, “that”, plus adverbs such as “now”, “then”, “today”, “yesterday”, “here”, and “actually”. Other candidates include the tenses … Continue reading Demonstratives and Indexicals →.
Core indexicals like ‘I’, ‘here’, and ‘now’ sometimes appear to refer to an object, place, or time other than the speaker, location, or time of utterance. This presents well-known problems for Kaplan's view, which treats reference shifting as a violation of the character rules that give the meaning of indexicals. I propose a view according to which indexical reference is essentially a matter of the mutually-accepted perspective of interlocutors. It follows that contexts need not be ‘proper’ in Kaplan's sense, and (...) a successful convergence of perspectives is needed for indexical reference to succeed. I provide reasons for embracing these conclusions. (shrink)
Since Kaplan : 81–98, 1979) first provided a logic for context-sensitive expressions, it has been thought that the only way to construct a logic for indexicals is to restrict it to arguments which take place in a single context— that is, instantaneous arguments, uttered by a single speaker, in a single place, etc. In this paper, I propose a logic which does away with these restrictions, and thus places arguments where they belong, in real world conversations. The central innovation is (...) that validity depends not just on the sentences in the argument, but also on certain abstract relations between contexts. This enrichment of the notion of logical form leads to some seemingly counter-intuitive results: a sequence of sentences may make up a valid argument in one sequence of contexts, and an invalid one in another such sequence. I argue that this is an unavoidable result of context sensitivity in general, and of the nature of indexicals in particular, and that reflection on such examples will lead us to a better understanding of the idea of applying logic to context sensitive expressions, and thus to natural language in general. (shrink)
The subject of this book is the first person in thought and language. The main question concerns what we mean when we say 'J'. Related to it are questions about what kinds of self-consciousness and self-knowledge are needed in order for us to have the capacity to talk about ourselves. The emphasis is on theories of meaning and reference for 'J', but a fair amount of space is devoted to 'I' -thoughts and the role of the concept of the self (...) in cognition. The purpose is to give a picture of how we think and talk about ourselves in a wide range of circumstances. The topic has been discussed in numerous articles during the last decades, but rarely in the form of a monograph. I felt the need for a book of this kind while working on my dissertation. The manuscript is the result of many years of reflection on the self and indexicals. Some of the theories that I advance have developed as a result of my teaching an undergraduate course in the philosophy of language the last couple of years. (shrink)
In the spirit of David Kaplan’s “Afterthoughts,” Kent Bach has defended a version of an intention-based semantic theory for demonstratives. I argue that his version is not sufficient. I then make some further observations on the general motivations for intention-based semantic theories and argue that such motivations do not make intention-based semantic theories plausible. The intentions of speakers should be viewed as part of the metasemantics of the context, rather than part of the semantics for demonstratives. Rather, demonstratives should be (...) treated like proper names for the correct placement of the intentions of speakers. (shrink)
Whilst it may seem strange to ask to whom “I” refers, we show that there are occasionswhen it is not always obvious. In demonstratingthis we challenge Kaplan's assumptionthat the utterer, agent and referent of “I” arealways the same person.We begin by presenting what weregard to be the received view about indexicalreference popularized by David Kaplan in hisinfluential 1972 “Demonstratives” before goingon, in section 2, to discuss Sidelle'sanswering machine paradox which may be thoughtto threaten this view, and his deferredutterance method of (...) resolving this puzzle. Insection 3 we introduce a novel version of theanswering machine paradox which suggests that,in certain cases, Kaplan's identification ofutterer, agent and referent of “I” breaks down.In the fourth section we go on to consider arecent revision of Kaplan's picture by Predelliwhich appeals to the intentions of the utterer,before arguing that this picture is committedto unacceptable consequences and, therefore,should be avoided if possible. Finally, insection 5, we present a new revision ofKaplan's account which retains much of thespirit of his original proposal whilst offeringa intuitively acceptable way to explain all ofthe apparently problematic data. In doing so,we also show how this picture is able toexplain the scenario which motivated Predelli'saccount without appealing to speakerintentions. (shrink)
The aim of this thesis is to demonstrate the deep and inherent inadequacy of any descriptionist or traditionally Fregean approaches to the semantics of indexical expressions. In the first study I argue that an illuminating truth-theory, capable of serving in a theory of meaning, must represent the semantic value of indexical sentences as relative to the satisfaction of explicitly pragmatic conditions. Introducing a notion of speaker's reference, I show that the semantic reference or denotation of demonstratives is straightforwardly determined by (...) the speaker's acts of demonstrative reference in the introduced sense. To capture this requirement, I propose a condition of adequacy on any truth-theory for indexical languages containing the demonstrative 'that'. ;The second study is concerned to provide a more informative account of the required notion of speaker's demonstrative reference. I take as my starting point, an account of demonstrative reference proposed by David Kaplan. I show that a Fregean identification of the determinants of reference and the determinants of cognitive significance that Kaplan assumes is untenable for demonstratives. I argue that the actual cognitive significance of a given act of demonstrative reference is not a function of the semantics or "meaning" of demonstratives, and that the cognitive significance of a demonstrative claim for a speaker is not to be identified with the expressed propositional content of such a claim. Finally, I show that speaker's demonstrative reference cannot be reduced to or explicated in terms of any view of reference that understands referential intention as a speaker's intention to refer to whatever satisfies some set of "descriptive" conditions that he has in mind. I argue, instead, that it is necessary to recognize an irreducibly relational conception of a speaker's intention to refer to some object x. ;In my third study I argue that the considerations adduced by G. E. M. Anscombe to show that "I" is not a referring expression are inadequate, since they are based on precisely the inadequate theory of reference and referential intentions which I criticize. The referential status of "I" is defended and explicated. (shrink)
Sentences of natural languages are often said to express propositions and to have meanings . This work is about the nature of such entities and their role in an account of the truth conditions of tensed attributions of belief containing demonstratives and indexicals. ;In Chapter I, I discuss the temporal properties of propositions. Two views concerning the temporal properties of propositions--temporalism and eternalism--are characterized; eternalism is defended as the correct view. I show that the temporalist cannot give adequate truth conditions (...) for tensed attributions of belief, and, in addition, that criticisms of eternalism made by David Kaplan are unfounded. I also show that, given the truth of eternalism, Kaplan's identification of sentence meaning with character must be rejected. ;Chapter II takes, as its point of departure, Kaplan's work on demonstratives. An account of the semantical properties of demonstratives and indexicals is presented, one based upon Kaplan's account, but modified in the light of the results of Chapter I. It is then argued, on the basis of this account, that the usual truth conditions accorded to attributions of belief are incorrect: I argue that an attribution of belief is not true simply if the person to whom belief is attributed believes the proposition expressed by the sentence used to attribute belief. ;In Chapter III, two recent attempts to deal with the problems raised in Chapter II are considered: The semantics for attributions of belief suggested by Robert Stalnaker and Bas C. van Fraassen. On Stalnaker's and van Fraassen's views, in attributing belief to a person u using a sentence S, we sometimes do not attribute to u a belief in the proposition expressed by S, but in some other proposition. Both accounts are shown to be unacceptable. ;Finally, in Chapter IV, a solution to the problems raised in Chapter II is proposed. I suggest that not only the proposition expressed by a sentence S, but the meaning of S, is involved in truth conditions for attributions of belief containing S. The work concludes with a formal development of this proposal. (shrink)
Against the traditional theory of indexicals, I suggest that some utterances of sentences containing occurrences of indexical expressions must be evaluated with respect to a context distinct from the context of utterance. This proposal yields an intuitively correct treatment of a variety of linguistic phenomena. I discuss the interpretation of recorded messages, certain peculiar examples involving 'here', 'now', and 'I', the generic uses of indexicals, and some problems related to discourse about fiction. I also consider the logical consequences of my (...) view, and I argue that certain examples which are commonly taken as logically valid are not recognized as logical truths in my system. (shrink)