Communication and indexical reference

Philosophical Studies 149 (3):355 - 366 (2010)
In the debate over what determines the reference of an indexical expression on a given occasion of use, we can distinguish between two generic positions. According to the first, the reference is determined by internal factors, such as the speaker’s intentions. According to the second, the reference is determined by external factors, like conventions or what a competent and attentive audience would take the reference to be. It has recently been argued that the first position is untenable, since there are cases of mismatch where the intuitively correct reference differs from the one that would be determined by the relevant internal factors. The aim of this paper is to show that, contrary to this line of argument, it is the proponent of the second position that should be worried, since this position yields counterintuitive consequences regarding communicative success in cases of mismatch.
Keywords Reference  Indexicals  Demonstratives  Communication  Intentions
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DOI 10.2307/40783270
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PhilPapers Archive Jonas Åkerman, Communication and indexical reference
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W. V. Quine (1992). Pursuit of Truth. Harvard University Press.

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