Discourse and method

Linguistics and Philosophy 43 (2):119-138 (2020)
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Abstract

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 try and offer such a view. Since we are rather sympathetic to the motivations we find, we close by sketching a more plausible alternative.

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Author Profiles

Eliot Michaelson
King's College London
Ethan Nowak
Umeå University

References found in this work

Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
Intention, plans, and practical reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Cambridge: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Situations and attitudes.Jon Barwise & John Perry - 1981 - Journal of Philosophy 78 (11):668-691.
On Denoting.Bertrand Russell - 1905 - Mind 14 (56):479-493.
Situations and Attitudes.Jon Barwise & John Perry - 1983 - Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. Edited by John Perry.

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