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  1. No Context, No Content, No Problem.Ethan Nowak - 2021 - Mind and Language 36 (2):189-220.
    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 (...)
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  • Saying a Bundle: Meaning, Intention, and Underdetermination.Mark Bowker - 2019 - Synthese 196 (10):4229-4252.
    People often speak loosely, uttering sentences that are plainly false on their most strict interpretation. In understanding such speakers, we face a problem of underdetermination: there is often no unique interpretation that captures what they meant. Focusing on the case of incomplete definite descriptions, this paper suggests that speakers often mean bundles of propositions. When a speaker means a bundle, their audience can know what they mean by deriving any one of its members. Rather than posing a problem for the (...)
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  • Discourse and Method.Ethan Nowak & Eliot Michaelson - 2020 - Linguistics and Philosophy 43 (2):119-138.
    Stojnić et al. (2013, 2017) argue that the reference of demonstratives is fixed without any contribution from the extra-linguistic context. On their `prominence/coherence' theory, the reference of a demonstrative expression depends only on its context-independent linguistic meaning. Here, we argue that Stojnić et al.’s striking claims can be maintained in only the thinnest technical sense. Instead of eliminating appeals to the extra-linguistic context, we show how the prominence/coherence theory merely suppresses them. Then we ask why one might be tempted to (...)
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  • A Pragmatic View of Proper Name Reference.Peter Ridley - 2016 - Dissertation, King's College London
    I argue, in this thesis, that proper name reference is a wholly pragmatic phenomenon. The reference of a proper name is neither constitutive of, nor determined by, the semantic content of that name, but is determined, on an occasion of use, by pragmatic factors. The majority of views in the literature on proper name reference claim that reference is in some way determined by the semantics of the name, either because their reference simply constitutes their semantics (which generally requires a (...)
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  • Representation Without Thought: Confusion, Reference, and Communication.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2015 - Dissertation, CUNY Graduate Center
    I develop and argue for a novel theory of the mental state of identity confusion. I also argue that this mental state can corrupt the proper function of singular terms in linguistic communication. Finally, I propose a theory according to which identity confusion should be treated as a the source of a new sort of linguistic performance error, similar to malapropism, slips of the tongue, and so-called intentional obfuscation (inducing false belief by manipulating language in specific ways). -/- Going into (...)
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  • A Defence of Intentionalism About Demonstratives.Alex Radulescu - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (4): 775-791.
    Intentionalism about demonstratives is the view that the referent of a demonstrative is determined solely by the speaker's intentions. Intentionalists can disagree about the nature of these intentions, but are united in rejecting the relevance of other factors, such as the speaker's gestures, her gaze, and any facts about the addressee or the audience. In this paper, I formulate a particular version of this view, and I defend it against six objections, old and new.
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  • How Models Represent.James Nguyen - 2016 - Dissertation,
    Scientific models are important, if not the sole, units of science. This thesis addresses the following question: in virtue of what do scientific models represent their target systems? In Part i I motivate the question, and lay out some important desiderata that any successful answer must meet. This provides a novel conceptual framework in which to think about the question of scientific representation. I then argue against Callender and Cohen’s attempt to diffuse the question. In Part ii I investigate the (...)
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  • The Edenic Theory of Reference.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (3):276-308.
    I argue for a theory of the optimal function of the speech act of referring, called the edenic theory. First, the act of singular reference is defined directly in terms of Gricean communicative intentions. Second, I propose a doxastic constraint on the optimal performance of such acts, stating, roughly, that the speaker must not have any relevant false beliefs about the identity or distinctness of the intended object. In uttering a singular term on an occasion, on this theory, one represents (...)
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  • Discourse and Logical Form: Pronouns, Attention and Coherence.Una Stojnić, Matthew Stone & Ernie Lepore - 2017 - Linguistics and Philosophy 40 (5):519-547.
    Traditionally, pronouns are treated as ambiguous between bound and demonstrative uses. Bound uses are non-referential and function as bound variables, and demonstrative uses are referential and take as a semantic value their referent, an object picked out jointly by linguistic meaning and a further cue—an accompanying demonstration, an appropriate and adequately transparent speaker’s intention, or both. In this paper, we challenge tradition and argue that both demonstrative and bound pronouns are dependent on, and co-vary with, antecedent expressions. Moreover, the semantic (...)
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