Using Indexicals

In Michael Devitt & Richard Hanley (eds.), The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Language. Blackwell. 314--334 (2006)
Abstract
In this essay I examine how we use indexicals. The key function of indexicals, I claim, is to help the audience --- that is the hearers or readers of the utterance with whom the speaker intends to be communicating---to find supplementary channels of information about the object to which the indexical refers. To keep the discussion manageable, I will oversimplify the epistemology of conversation. I ignore the fact that people sometimes lie and sometimes make mistakes. I talk freely about what one learns and the information one gets from an utterance.
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