The Nez Perce counterparts of `I', `you', and `here' show "shifty" behavior in attitude reports. I argue that this is not the result of mixed quotation or binding, and should be analyzed via Anand and Nevins-style context shift with Kaplanian monsters.
Este trabajo analiza los patrones de desambiguación de presuposiciones que se pueden considerar anafóricas y son generadas por partículas indexicales. En contraste con teorías recientes sobre la presuposición que privilegian la información lexical proponemos un análisis perspectivo de la presuposición según el cual la inferencia por defecto sobre este tipo de información hace uso de la perspectiva de los hablantes. En dos estudios exploramos el patrón de desambiguación de oraciones que contienen la palabra ‘también’ en contextos donde se usa el (...) indéxico ‘yo’. Los resultados confirman nuestra hipótesis y se discuten a la luz las principales ideas sobre presuposición y anáfora. A partir de estos resultados sugerimos algunas direcciones futuras de investigación. (shrink)
Maximilian de Gaynesford has argued against the standard view that the reference of the first-person pronoun ‘I’ is determined by a rule linking the referent to some feature of the context of use. In this paper, we argue that de Gaynesford's arguments are inconclusive. Our main aim, however, is to formulate a novel version of the reference rule for ‘I’. We argue that this version can deal with several problematic cases. Our strategy involves analysing the so-called agent of the context (...) as the person responsible for a particular speech act. From this analysis, we exclude a particular class of uses of ‘I’, uses that we believe are best understood as demonstrative. (shrink)
The paper discusses the answering machine puzzle and cases of non-standard uses of ‘I’. It offers an analysis of the phenomena that is conservative with respect to the Kaplanian account of indexicality. The point of departure of the paper is the observation that some proper indexicals have demonstrative uses. It is argued that treating some occurrences of ‘now’ as cases of such uses results in an intuitive and simple solution to the answering machine puzzle. At the same time, treating some (...) occurrences of ‘I’ in an analogous manner explains away the impression that some non-standard uses of ‘I’ enforce a modification of the standard semantics of the first-person pronoun. (shrink)
What is the relationship between Frege’s puzzle and the puzzle of the de se? An increasingly influential view claims that the de se puzzle is merely an instance of Frege’s puzzle and that the idea that de se attitudes pose a distinctive theoretical challenge rests on a myth. Here we argue that this view is misguided. There are important differences between the two puzzles. First, unlike Frege puzzle cases, de se puzzle cases involve unshareable Fregean senses. Second, unlike Frege puzzle (...) cases, de se puzzle cases cannot be resolved by objective information alone. Further, there seem to be pure cases of each puzzle: instances of the de se puzzle which do not have a Fregean structure, and instances of Frege’s puzzle, which do not involve de se attitudes. We conclude that the two puzzles are fundamentally different and that the traditional theory of attitudes needs to be amended. (shrink)
According to the Self-Location Thesis, certain types of visual experiences have self-locating and so first-person, spatial contents. Such self-locating contents are typically specified in relational egocentric terms. So understood, visual experiences provide support for the claim that there is a kind of self-consciousness found in experiential states. This paper critically examines the Self-Location Thesis with respect to dynamic-reflexive visual experiences, which involve the movement of an object toward the location of the perceiving subject. The main aim of this paper is (...) to offer an alternative interpretation of these cases which resists attributing them self-locating content, arguing for a replacement of the de se component with a non-conceptual equivalent of the indexical ‘here’. In its final section, the paper also considers an extension of the h-replacement account to cases of visual kinesthesis. (shrink)
In recent years there has been a heated debate on how to accommodate John Perry's observations about the essentiality of indexicality into our models of linguistic communication. This article is an attempt at providing a new perspective on this issue. I argue that we should jettison two elements taken for granted by the views I present, and criticize, here: no centring, uncentring, recentring and multicentring. These elements are: (1) taking the asserted content to be a part of the communication process (...) and (2) assumptions that the indexical belief of the speaker, when successfully communicated, must be acquired by the hearer as indexical, too. The theory of indexical communication that I propose here is laid out in the mental files framework and devoid of the two aforementioned elements. (shrink)
In our book The Inessential Indexical we argue that the various theses of essential indexicality all fail. Indexicals are not essential, we conclude. One essentiality thesis we target in the third chapter is the claim that indexical attitudes are essential for action. Our strategy is to give examples of what we call impersonal action rationalizations , which explain actions without citing indexical attitudes. To defeat the claim that indexical attitudes are essential for action, it suffices that there could be even (...) one successful impersonal action rationalization. In what follows we bolster our case against an essential connection between action and the de se (or indexicality), first by developing a range of new action models and secondly by responding to challenges from Dilip Ninan, Stephan Torre, and José Luis Bermúdez . (shrink)
The popular interpretation of token‐reflexivism states that at the level of logical form, indexicals and demonstratives are disguised descriptions that employ complex demonstratives or special quotation‐mark names involving particular tokens of the appropriate expression‐types. In this article I first demonstrate that this interpretation of token‐reflexivism is only one of many, and that it is better to think of token‐reflexivism as denoting a family of distinct theoretical frameworks. Second, I contrast two interpretations of the idea of the token‐reflexive paraphrase of an (...) indexical sentence. The utterance approach claims that token‐reflexive paraphrases involve tokens of entire utterances. The sub‐utterance approach maintains that token‐reflexive paraphrases involve tokens of the particular indexical words used in the utterance. Next, I pose a problem that shows that neither of the two approaches is correct. The problem shows that the only viable version of the token‐reflexive proposition must somehow take into account the referential intentions of the speaker of the context. Therefore I conclude the article by sketching the framework of restricted intentional token‐reflexivism. I argue that it is an attractive semantic theory of distributed utterances that, among other things, enables automatic and intentional indexicals to be distinguished. (shrink)
The rule account of self-conscious thought holds that a thought is self-conscious if and only if it contains a token of a concept-type that is governed by a reflexive rule. An account along these lines was discussed in the late 70s. Nevertheless, very few philosophers endorse it nowadays. I shall argue that this summary dismissal is partly unjustified. There is one version of the rule account that can explain a key epistemic property of self-conscious thoughts: Guarantee. Along the way, I (...) will rebut a number of objections and introduce two constraints on how the reflexive rule is implemented. (shrink)
This paper develops the Diachronic Self-Making View, the view that we are the non-accidentally best candidate referents of our ‘I’-beliefs. A formulation and defence of DSV is followed by an overview of its treatment of familiar puzzle cases about personal identity. The rest of the paper focuses on a challenge to DSV, the Puzzle of Inconstant ‘I’-beliefs: the view appears to force on us inconsistent verdicts about personal identity in cases that we would naturally describe as changes in one’s de (...) se beliefs. To solve this problem, the paper defends the possibility of overlapping people, and addresses a number of objections to this idea. (shrink)
Synonymy, at its most basic, is sameness of meaning. A token-reflexive expression is an expression whose meaning assigns a referent to its tokens by relating each particular token of that particular expression to its referent. In doing so, the formulation of its meaning mentions the particular expression whose meaning it is. This seems to entail that no two token-reflexive expressions are synonymous, which would constitute a strong objection against token-reflexive semantics. In this paper, I propose and defend a notion of (...) synonymy for token-reflexive expressions that allows such expressions to be synonymous, while being a fairly conservative extension of the customary notion of synonymy. (shrink)
The topic of this paper is the question of in virtue of what first-person thoughts are about what they are about. I focus on a dilemma arising from this question. On the one hand, approaches to answering this question that promise to be satisfying seem doomed to be inconsistent with the seeming truism that first-person thought is always about the thinker of the thought. But on the other hand, ensuring consistency with that truism seems doomed to make any answer to (...) the question unsatisfying. Contrary to a careful and enticing recent effort to both sharpen and escape this dilemma by Daniel Morgan, I will argue that the dilemma remains pressing both for broadly epistemic and broadly causal-acquaintance-based accounts of the aboutness of first-person thought. (shrink)
The paper discusses two aspects of Wittgenstein’s middle-period discussions of the self and the use of ‘I’. First, it considers the distinction Wittgenstein draws in his 1933 Cambridge lectures between two ‘utterly different’ uses of the word ‘I’. It is shown that Wittgenstein’s discussion describes a number of different and non-equivalent distinctions between uses of ‘I’. It is argued that his claims about some of these distinctions are defensible but that his reasoning in other cases is unconvincing. Second, the paper (...) considers the distinction drawn in the Blue Book between the use of ‘I’ as subject and the use of ‘I’ as object. A number of commentators have contended that this Blue Book distinction between uses of ‘I’ is erroneous, that Wittgenstein soon realized that, and that he dropped the idea of such a distinction from his later work. Against those claims, it is argued that Wittgenstein’s distinction between the use of ‘I’ as subject and its use as object is correct and illuminating. And it is shown that, though we do not find the ‘as-subject’/’as-object’ terminology in Wittgenstein’s subsequent work, the essential point of the Blue Book distinction is not abandoned but remains in place in Philosophical Investigations. (shrink)
Expressions typically thought to be rigid designators can refer to distinct individuals in the consequents of counterfactuals. This occurs in counteridenticals, such as “If I were you, I would arrest me”, as well as more ordinary counterfactuals with clearly possible antecedents, like “If I were a police officer, I would arrest me”. I argue that in response we should drop rigidity and deal with de re modal predication using something more flexible, such as counterpart theory.
There are two common reactions to Frege’s claim that some senses and thoughts are private. Privatists accept both private senses and thoughts, while intersubjectivists don’t accept either. Both sides agree on a pair of tacit assumptions: first, that private senses automatically give rise to private thoughts; and second, that private senses and thoughts are the most problematic entities to which Frege’s remarks on privacy give rise. The aim of this paper is to show that both assumptions are mistaken. This will (...) motivate a so far neglected, reconciliatory position between privatism and intersubjectivism according to which all thoughts are public while some senses are private. (shrink)
Inspired by Castañeda (1966, 1968), Perry (1979) and Lewis (1979) showed that a specific variety of singular thoughts, thoughts about oneself “as oneself” – de se thoughts, as Lewis called them – raise special issues, and they advanced rival accounts. Their suggestive examples raise the problem of de se thought – to wit, how to characterize it so as to give an accurate account of the data, tracing its relations to singular thoughts in general. After rehearsing the main tenets of (...) two contrasting accounts – a Lewisian one and a Perrian one – in the first section of this paper, in the second I will present a proposal of my own, which is a specific elaboration of the Perrian account. In the first section I will indicate some weaknesses of Perry’s presentation of his view; the proposal I will articulate in the second overcomes them. I will conclude with a brief discussion of reasons for preferring one or another account, in particular regarding the issue of the communication of de se thoughts. (shrink)
Is God a timeless God? One standard argument against the supposition that He is is that it appears to be incompatible with God’s posited omniscience. If God is timeless, He cannot know truths involving temporal indexicals, such as the one I express right now by ”I am sitting now”. In this article, I discuss this argument and consider some replies to it. I focus on the denial of the view according to which knowledge expressed with temporally indexical true statements is (...) relevantly different from knowledge expressed with corresponding statements without indexicals. (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)
It has long been known (cf. Frege 1918, Castañeda 1968, Anscombe 1975 , Perry 1977, 1979, Lewis 1981) that de se attitudes, that is beliefs, desires, hopes etc. that one has about oneself as oneself,1 are interestingly different fromthe attitudes that one holds in a third-personal mode about some individual, who might or might not turn out to be them. Frege suggested that Dr. Lauben’s belief that he has been wounded is a belief that only Dr. Lauben himself can entertain. (...) Another person’s belief that Dr. Lauben has been wounded would be a different belief, one that would motivate action in a completely different way. This led Frege to the following puzzle.When Dr. Lauben says “I have been wounded”, he cannot be plausibly taken to express his own first-personal belief that he has been wounded, since nobody else can come to have that same belief. So what is, then, the content that he does express, in order to communicate to others that he has been wounded? Different solutions to the puzzle have been proposed, and my chapter may be seen as yet another attempt at addressing this question. I shall show that not only de se attitudes but also de se speech is interestingly different from third-personal attitudes/speech. (shrink)
Ordinary language makes a distinction between knowing a person by having seen her before and knowing her “personally,” that is, by having interacted with her. The aim of my paper is to substantiate this distinction between knowledge by interaction and knowledge by acquaintance, that is, knowledge acquired by way of the senses. According to my view, knowledge of a person by interaction is the kind of knowledge sustained by addressing her as “you.” I claim that this second-person knowledge is essentially (...) of the same form as first-person knowledge, which is knowledge sustained by the capacity to use the first-person pronoun, “I.” Both are species of what I will call, in a Kantian manner of speaking, knowledge from spontaneity. In knowing each other as “you” and “I,” two persons united in a second-personal interaction are and spontaneously know each other as the joint subject of their act. Hence knowledge by interaction—the kind of knowledge which grounds the everyday conception of knowing someone “personally”—is necessarily shared. To say that A knows B in this manner implies—in fact, it is the same thing as saying—that B knows A, it is to say that A and B know each other. This is what constitutes knowledge by interaction as a sui generis kind of knowledge of persons. (shrink)
Are there distinctively second-personal thoughts? I clarify the question and present considerations in favour of a view on which some second-personal thoughts are distinctive. Specifically, I suggest that some second-personal thoughts are distinctive in also being first-personal thoughts. Thus, second-personal thinking provides a way of sharing another person's first-personal thoughts.
First person thoughts are the sort of thought one may express by using the first person ; they are also thoughts that are about the thinker of the thought. Neither characterization is ultimately satisfactory. A thought can be about the thinker of the thought by accident, without being a first person thought. The alternative characterization of first person thought in terms of first person sentences also fails, because it is circular : we need the notion of a first person thought (...) to account for the reference rule governing the first person in language. The paper offers a new characterization of first person thought. A first person thought is a thought which deploys the first person concept, where the first person concept is construed as a special kind of ‘mental file’. Mental files are based on, and their reference determined by, epistemically rewarding (ER) relations in which the subject stands to entities in the environment. In the case of the SELF file, the relevant ER relation is identity. This guarantees that the first-person concept refers to the thinker of the thought in which it is deployed. (shrink)
In this paper I defend the “Standard View” of the semantics of ‘I’—according to which ‘I’ is a pure, automatic indexical—from a challenge posed by “deferred reference” cases, in which occurrences of ‘I’ are (allegedly) not speaker-referential, and thus non-automatic. In reply, I offer an alternative account of the cases in question, which I call the “Description Analysis” (DA). According to DA, seemingly deferred-referential occurrences of the first person pronoun are interpreted as constituents of a definite description, whose operator scopes (...) over an open sentence Rxy—where R is a contextually selected relation ranging over pairs of people and objects. The role of intentions is thus limited to the determination of R, which is posterior to the fixation of the reference of ‘I’. In support of the DA I present evidence that, in the cases in question, the (Determiner) phrase containing ‘I’ behaves in relevant ways like a description. I show that the DA can account for the problematic examples, while preserving the simplicity of the standard semantics of ‘I’. Finally, I examine a rival account of the data, offered by Nunberg (Linguist Philos 16:1–43, 1993), and argue for the superiority of the DA. (shrink)
Cappelen and Dever present a forceful challenge to the standard view that perspective, and in particular the perspective of the first person, is a philosophically deep aspect of the world. Their goal is not to show that we need to explain indexical and other perspectival phenomena in different ways, but to show that the entire topic is an illusion.
Answering machines and other types of recording devices present prima facie problems for traditional theories of the meaning of indexicals. The present essay explores a range of semantic and pragmatic responses to these issues. Careful attention to the difficulties posed by recordings promises to help enlighten the boundaries between semantics and pragmatics more broadly.
Personal indexicals are often taken to refer to the agent of an expression’s context, but deviant uses (e.g. ‘I’m parked out back’) complicate matters. I argue that personal indexicals refer to the extended self of the agent, where the extended self is a mereological chimera incorporating whatever determines our behavioral capacities. To ascertain the persistence conditions of personal identity, I propose a method for selecting a level of description and a set of functional properties at that level that remain constant (...) over a lifetime. I argue for functional constancy, and against continuity, as the central determinant of diachronic identity. (shrink)
This paper is about first‐person thoughts—thoughts about oneself that are expressible through uses of first‐person pronouns. It is widely held that first‐person thoughts cannot be shared. My aim is to postpone rejection of the more natural view that such thoughts about oneself can be shared. I sketch an account on which such thoughts can be shared and indicate some ways in which deciding the fate of the account will depend upon further work.
In this paper I apply a well known tension between cognitive and semantic aspects in Frege’s notion of sense to his treatment of indexicals. I first discusses Burge’s attack against the identification of sense and meaning, and Kripke’s answer supporting such identification. After showing different problems for both interpreters, the author claims that the tension in Frege’s conception of sense (semantic and cognitive) accounts for some shortcomings of both views, and that considering the tension helps in understanding apparently contradictory Fregean (...) claims about sameness of sense of sentences with indexicals. I conclude that the Fregean notion of sense, also in its cognitive aspect, cannot be reduced to linguistic meaning, and that the Fregean tension between two notions of sense may also explain the discussion Frege gives on the indexical “I”, proposing to develop a picture of indexicals as hidden complex demonstratives, as originally suggested by Burge. (shrink)
In this collection of newly commissioned essays, the contributors present a variety of approaches to it, engaging with historical and empirical aspects of the subject as well as contemporary philosophical work.
It has been long known (Perry in Philos Rev 86: 474–497, 1977 ; Noûs 13: 3–21, 1979 , Lewis in Philos Rev 88: 513–543 1981 ) that de se attitudes, such as beliefs and desires that one has about oneself , call for a special treatment in theories of attitudinal content. The aim of this paper is to raise similar concerns for theories of asserted content. The received view, inherited from Kaplan ( 1989 ), has it that if Alma says (...) “I am hungry,” the asserted content, or what is said , is the proposition that Alma is hungry (at a given time). I argue that the received view has difficulties handling de se assertion, i.e., contents that one expresses using the first person pronoun, to assert something about oneself. I start from the observation that when two speakers say “I am hungry,” one may truly report them as having said the same thing. It has often been held that the possibility of such reports comes from the fact that the two speakers are, after all, uttering the same words, and are in this sense “saying the same thing”. I argue that this approach fails, and that it is neither necessary nor sufficient to use the same words, or words endowed with the same meaning, in order to be truly reported as same-saying. I also argue that reports of same-saying in the case of de se assertion differ significantly from such reports in the case of two speakers merely implicating the same thing. (shrink)
In this paper, I will provide a counterexample to Recanati's account of first-person communication (1995, 2010, 2012). In particular, I will show that Recanati's constraints are not sufficient for the success of first-person communication. My argument against Recanati's account is parallel to Recanati's argument against neo-Russellian accounts, and shows that the same problem resurfaces even in the presence of linguistically encoded mode of presentation in a neo-Fregean framework of mental files.
Menschen verfügen über ein komplexes Vermögen der Selbstlokalisierung in Raum und Zeit. Seine eigene Position festzustellen kann in verschiedenen Kontexten Verschiedenes bedeuten. Nicht jedes unsere raumzeitliche Lokalisierung und Orientierung betreffende Problem ist philosophischer Natur. Fragen wie »Wo ist Norden?«, »Wie weit ist es nach Hause?« oder »In welcher Richtung liegt das Ziel?« sind lebensweltliche und gegebenenfalls navigatorische Fragen. Die kognitiven Mechanismen und Fähigkeiten zu untersuchen, die unseren Lokalisierungs- und Orientierungsleistungen zugrunde liegen, ist eine Aufgabe für die Kognitionswissenschaften. Die Untersuchung der (...) Grundlagen unserer Orientierungsfähigkeit wirft aber auch begriffliche Fragen auf, und diese zu klären ist eine philosophische Aufgabe. Wichtige Beiträge dazu haben Kant, Husserl, Strawson, Tugendhat und Gareth Evans geleistet. Truls Wyller steht in dieser Reihe und hat wie kein anderer den transzendentalphilosophischen Gehalt von Lokalisierungs- und Orientierungsfragen herausgearbeitet. Gegen naturalistische Verkürzungen hat er mit großer Beharrlichkeit dafür argumentiert, dass das Vermögen, seine eigene Position in Raum und Zeit zu bestimmen, Implika-tionen hat, die die Bedingung der Möglichkeit von Erfahrung betreffen. Die folgende Skizze ist ungleich bescheidener angelegt. Ich werde wenig mehr tun, als wesentliche Einsichten der Literatur zur raumzeitlichen Selbstlokalisierung zusammenzutragen, wobei ich einige Akzente anders setze als Wyller. Insbesondere werde ich versuchen, so weit wie möglich ohne Transzendentalen Idealismus auskommen. Im Zentrum meiner Skizze steht das klärungsbedürftige Verhältnis zwischen indexikalischen und nicht-indexikalischen Orts- und Zeitbestimmungen sowie den zugehörigen Lokalisierungsverfahren. (shrink)
We distinguish, among other things, between the agent of the context, the speaker of the agent's utterance, the mechanism the agent uses to produce her utterance, and the tokening of the sentence uttered. Armed with these distinctions, we tackle the the ‘answer-machine’, ‘post-it note’ and other allegedly problematic cases, arguing that they can be handled without departing significantly from Kaplan's semantical framework for indexicals. In particular, we argue that these cases don't require adopting Stefano Predelli's intentionalism.
In recent work on contextdependency, it has been argued that certain types of sentences give rise to a notion of relative truth. In particular, sentences containing predicates of personal taste and moral or aesthetic evaluation as well as epistemic modals are held to express a proposition (relative to a context of use) which is true or false not only relative to a world of evaluation, but other parameters as well, such as standards of taste or knowledge or an agent. Thus, (...) a sentence like chocolate tastes good would express a proposition p that is true or false not only at a world of evaluation, but relative to the additional parameter as well, such as a parameter of taste or an agent. I will argue that the sentences that apparently give rise to relative truth should be understood by relating them in a certain way to the first person. More precisely, such sentences express what I will call firstpersonbased genericity, a form of generalization that is based on or directed toward an essential firstperson application of the predicate. The account differs from standard relative truth account in crucial respects: it is not the truth of the proposition expressed that is relative to the first person; the proposition expressed by a sentence with a predicate of taste rather has absolute truth conditions. Instead it is the propositional content itself that requires a firstpersonal cognitive access whenever it is entertained. This account, I will argue, avoids a range of problems that standard relative truth theories of the sentences in question face and explains a number of further peculiarities that such sentences display. (shrink)
In this paper I will give an analysis of what I call ‘generalizing detached self-reference’ within a general account of reference to the first person. With generalizing detached self-reference an agent attributes properties to a range of individuals by putting himself into their shoes, or simulating them. I will show that generalizing detached self-reference plays an important role in the semantics of natural language, in particular in the English generic one and in what syntacticians call arbitrary PRO.
Si l’usage contemporain du concept de sujet s’est introduit en philosophie à la faveur d’une substantivation des mots « je » et « moi », cet usage peut-il résister à une compréhension moins fantastique du sens du mot « je »? Nous montrons en quoi le penseur d’une pensée en première personne peut être littéralement considéré comme un sujet absolu, la subjectivité étant alors moins synonyme d’intériorité que d’inhésion ou de prédication réelle.Ce que « Je » dit du sujetIs the (...) contemporary use of the old concept of subject a by-product of the Ego’s philosophies? We show in which sense the thinker of an I.Thought can be seen as an absolute subject in regard of the predicates of his I.Thoughts, because of his cognitive inarticulateness. Subjectivity can then be viewed much more as predicates’ inhesion than as interiority. (shrink)
Margaret Gilbert's plural subject theory defines social collectives in terms of common knowledge of expressed willingness to participate in some joint action. The author critically examines Gilbert's application of this theory to linguistic phenomena involving "we," arguing that recent work in linguistics provides the tools to develop a superior account. The author indicates that, apart from its own relevance, one should care about this critique because Gilbert's claims about the first person plural pronoun play a role in the argument in (...) favor of her recent theory of political obligation. Key Words: collective agent • Gilbert • plural subject • semantics • we. (shrink)
If tokens of 'I' have a sense as well as a reference the question immediately arises of what account to give of their sense. One influential kind of account, of which Gareth Evans provides the best developed instance, attempts to elucidate the sense of 'I' partly in terms of the distinctive functional role possessed by thoughts containing this sense ('I'-thoughts). Accounts of this kind seem to entail that my 'I'-thoughts cannot be entertained by anyone other than me, a consequence generally (...) thought unacceptable. I defend it. I also justify a functional role account of the sense of 'I'. The result should be to make plausible an account of the sense of 'I' in terms of the functional role of 'I'-thoughts. (shrink)
Two approaches to indexicality are comparatively taken into analysis: John Parry's analytic approach on the one hand, and a sort of Saussure-inspired approach within the domain of Functionalist Linguistics, on the other hand. It is argued that these two approaches do diametrically oppose each other in some important aspects. The notion of Saussurean arbitrariness of reference, opposing the analytic notion of rigid designation, is eventually argued to have a good explanatory power when some ordinary language phenomena are to be explained.
The generic pronoun 'one' (or its empty counterpart, arbitrary PRO) exhibits a range of properties that show a special connection to the first person, or rather the relevant intentional agent (speaker, addressee, or described agent). The paper argues that generic 'one' involves generic quantification in which the predicate is applied to a given entity ‘as if’ to the relevant agent himself. This is best understood in terms of simulation, a central notion in some recent developments in the philosophy of mind (...) and cognitive science (Simulation Theory). (shrink)
It has traditionally been maintained that every token of ‘I’ refers to its utterer. However, certain uses of indexicals conflict with this claim, and its counterparts with respect to ‘here’ and ‘now’, suggesting that the traditional account of indexical reference should be abandoned. In this paper, I examine some proposed alternatives and the difficulties they face, before offering a new account of indexical reference. I endorse Kaplan’s view that the reference of an indexical is determined on any occasion it is (...) used by applying its character to a particular context, arguing that the problem cases show that this is not always the context of utterance. The task facing the semantic theorist is thus to explain what fixes the reference-determining context. I consider and reject both Predelli’s suggestion that the reference-determining context is the one intended by the utterer, and Corazza et al.’s proposal that the relevant context is fixed by conventions delivered by the utterance setting. The discussion of these two accounts reveals that an adequate theory of indexical reference should allow the speaker to use indexicals in novel ways, whilst holding that what a speaker can refer to with an indexical utterance is constrained by what an audience can understand. I develop an account based around these two requirements. (shrink)
This paper focuses on two enduring features of Gareth Evans’s work. The first is his rethinking of standard ways of understanding the Fregean notion of sense and the second his sustained attempt to undercut the standard opposition between Russellian and Fregean approaches to understanding thought and language.I explore the peculiar difficulties that ‘I’ poses for a Fregean theory and show how Evans’s account of the sense of the first person pronoun can be modified to meet those difficulties.