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Profile: Herman Cappelen (University of St. Andrews)
Profile: Herman Cappelen
  1. Herman Cappelen, Reply to Hawthorne.
    In Chapter 7 of IS we rely crucially on tests for how speakers share content across contexts. We claim these tests can be used to gather evidence both for and against claims about an expression being context sensitive. Many philosophers now rely on these and related tests – Hawthorne (2003) being early proponent (cf. also Egan, Hawthorne and Weatherson (2004), Lasersohn (2006), Macfarlane (2004), Richard (2004), and (arguably) Stanley (2005)). In his reply, Hawthorne raises interesting challenges to our use of (...)
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  2. Herman Cappelen, Reply to Zoltan Szabo.
    One of Szabo's central objections is his ‘reservations about the alleged slide from moderate to radical contextualism’. First, some background: the argument Szabo expresses doubt about is essential both to the critical part of our book and to its positive part. Our argument against what we call moderate contextualism depends on the assumption that it collapses into radical contextualism. Our positive view depends on the assumption that for any utterance, we can trigger the intuition that many different propositions are said (...)
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  3. Herman Cappelen & Ernie Lepore, Kent Bach on Minimalism for Dummies.
    According to Kent Bach (forthcoming), our book, Insensitive Semantics (IS), suffers from its 'implicit endorsement' of (1): (1) Every complete sentence expresses a proposition (this is Propositionalism, a fancy version of the old grammar school dictum that every complete sentence expresses a complete thought) (Bach (ms.)) In response (C&L, forthcoming), we claim to be unaware of endorsing (1). No argument in IS depends on (1), we say. We don't claim to have shown that that there couldn't be grammatical sentences the (...)
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  4. Herman Cappelen & Ernie Lepore, Reply to John MacFarlane.
    In Insensitive Semantics (INS) and earlier work (see for example C&L (1997), (1998), (2004), (2005)) we defend a combination of two views: speech act pluralism and semantic minimalism. We're not alone advocating speech act pluralism; a modified version of it can be found in Mark Richard (1998), and we're delighted to have found a recent ally in Scott Soames (see chapter 3 of Soames (2001)1). There's less explicit support for minimalism, though we think it’s one way to interpret parts of (...)
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  5. Herman Cappelen & Ernie Lepore, Reply to Ken Taylor.
    In Insensitive Semantics (INS) and several earlier articles (see C&L 1997, 1998, 2003, 2004) we appeal to a range of procedures for testing whether an expression is semantically context sensitive. We argue that claims to the effect that an expression, e, is semantically context sensitivity should be made only after checking whether e passes these tests. We use these tests to criticize those we classify as Radical and Moderate Contextualist (Taylor is one of our targets in the latter category.).
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  6. Herman Cappelen (forthcoming). X-Phi Without Intuitions? In Anthony Robert Booth & Darrell P. Rowbottom (eds.), Intuitions.
    One central purpose of Experimental Philosophy (hereafter, x-phi) is to criticize the alleged reliance on intuitions in contemporary philosophy. In my book Philosophy without Intuitions (hereafter, PWI), I argue that philosophers don’t rely on intuitions. If those arguments are good, experimental philosophy has been engaged in an attack on a strawman. The goal of this paper is to bolster the criticism of x-phi in the light of responses.
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  7. Herman Cappelen & Torfinn Huvenes (forthcoming). Relative Truth. In Michael Glanzberg (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Truth. Oxford University Press.
    An introduction to relativism about truth.
     
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  8. Herman Cappelen (2015). Reply to Boghossian, Brogaard and Richard. Analytic Philosophy 55 (3).
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  9. Herman Cappelen (2014). Précis of Philosophy Without Intuitions. Philosophical Studies 171 (3):513-515.
    Philosophy without intuitions is in many ways a simple book. It has a simple guiding question:Guiding Question . Is it characteristic of philosophers that they rely on intuitions as evidence?The central thesis of the book is also simple: the answer to GQ is ‘No’. A corollary is that all the work that assumes a positive answer, e.g. experimental philosophy and what I call ‘methodological rationalism’, is based on a false assumption.For those familiar with the last 30 years of metaphilosophical debates, (...)
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  10. Herman Cappelen (2014). Replies to Weatherson, Chalmers, Weinberg, and Bengson. Philosophical Studies 171 (3):577-600.
    Reply to criticsThe replies in this symposium are some of the most insightful contributions to contemporary metaphilosophy I have read. I wish I had seen them before I wrote Philosophy without Intuitions . It would have made it a better book. I also wish I had space to explore all the important issues raised, but unfortunately, the focus here will have to be on points of disagreement. The replies build on each other—I draw on material from the earlier replies in (...)
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  11. Herman Cappelen (2013). Nonsense and Illusions of Thought. Philosophical Perspectives 27 (1):22-50.
    This paper addresses four issues: 1. What is nonsense? 2. Is nonsense possible? 3. Is nonsense actual? 4. Why do the answers to (1)–(3) matter, if at all? These are my answers: 1. A sentence (or an utterance of one) is nonsense if it fails to have or express content (more on ‘express’, ‘have’, and ‘content’ below). This is a version of a view that can be found in Carnap (1959), Ayer (1936), and, maybe, the early Wittgenstein (1922). The notion (...)
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  12. Herman Cappelen & Josh Dever (2013). The Inessential Indexical: On the Philosophical Insignificance of Perspective and the First Person. Oxford University Press.
    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.
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  13. Herman Cappelen & Ernie Lepore (2013). A Tall Tale: In Defense of Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism. In Maite Ezcurdia & Robert J. Stainton (eds.), The Semantics-Pragmatics Boundary in Philosophy. Broadview Press. 412-28.
  14. Herman Cappelen (2012). Philosophy Without Intuitions. Oxford University Press.
    The standard view of philosophical methodology is that philosophers rely on intuitions as evidence. Herman Cappelen argues that this claim is false, and reveals how it has encouraged pseudo-problems, presented misguided ideas of what philosophy is, and misled exponents of metaphilosophy and experimental philosophy.
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  15. Herman Cappelen & Ernest Lepore, Quotation. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Starting with Frege, the semantics (and pragmatics) of quotation has received a steady flow of attention over the last one hundred years. It has not, however, been subject to the same kind of intense debate and scrutiny as, for example, both the semantics of definite descriptions and propositional attitude verbs. Many philosophers probably share Davidson's experience: ‘When I was initiated into the mysteries of logic and semantics, quotation was usually introduced as a somewhat shady device, and the introduction was accompanied (...)
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  16. Jessica Brown & Herman Cappelen (2011). Assertion: An Introduction and Overview. In Jessica Brown & Herman Cappelen (eds.), Assertion: New Philosophical Essays. Oxford University Press. 1-17.
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  17. Jessica Brown & Herman Cappelen (eds.) (2011). Assertion: New Philosophical Essays. Oxford University Press.
    Assertion is a fundamental feature of language. This volume will be the place to look for anyone interested in current work on the topic.
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  18. Herman Cappelen (2011). Against Assertion. In Jessica Brown & Herman Cappelen (eds.), Assertion: New Philosophical Essays. Oxford University Press.
    The view defended in this paper - I call it the No-Assertion view - rejects the assumption that it is theoretically useful to single out a subset of sayings as assertions: (v) Sayings are governed by variable norms, come with variable commitments and have variable causes and effects. What philosophers have tried to capture by the term 'assertion' is largely a philosophers' invention. It fails to pick out an act-type that we engage in and it is not a category we (...)
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  19. Herman Cappelen & John Hawthorne (2011). Reply to Glanzberg, Soames and Weatherson. [REVIEW] Analysis 71 (1):143-56.
    One of Weatherson's main goals is to drive home a methodological point: We shouldn't be looking for deductive arguments for or against relativism – we should instead be evaluating inductive arguments designed to show that either relativism or some alternative offers the best explanation of some data. Our focus in Chapter Two on diagnostics for shared content allegedly encourages the search for deductive arguments and so does more harm than good. We have no methodological slogan of our own to offer. (...)
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  20. Herman Cappelen & John Hawthorne (2011). Reply to Lasersohn, MacFarlane, and Richard. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 156 (3):417-419.
    Reply to Lasersohn, MacFarlane, and Richard.
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  21. Herman Cappelen & John Hawthorne (2011). Summary. [REVIEW] Analysis 71 (1):109 - 111.
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  22. Herman Cappelen & John Hawthorne (2009). Relativism and Monadic Truth. Oxford University Press.
    Relativism has dominated many intellectual circles, past and present, but the twentieth century saw it banished to the fringes of mainstream analytic philosophy. Of late, however, it is making something of a comeback within that loosely configured tradition, a comeback that attempts to capitalize on some important ideas in foundational semantics. Relativism and Monadic Truth aims not merely to combat analytic relativism but also to combat the foundational ideas in semantics that led to its revival. Doing so requires a proper (...)
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  23. Herman Cappelen (2008). Content Relativism and Semantic Blindness. In Manuel Garcia-Carpintero & Max Koelbel (eds.), Relative Truth. Oxford University Press. 265-86.
    For some relativists some of the time the evidence for their view is a puzzling data pattern: On the one hand, there's evidence that the terms in question exhibit some kind of content stability across contexts. On the other hand, there's evidence that their contents vary from one context of use to another. The challenge is to reconcile these two sets of data. Truth relativists claim that their theory can do so better than contextualism and invariantism. Truth relativists, in effect, (...)
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  24. Herman Cappelen (2008). The Creative Interpreter: Content Relativism and Assertion. Noûs 42 (1):23 - 46.
    Philosophers of language and linguists tend to think of the interpreter as an essentially non-creative participant in the communicative process. There’s no room, in traditional theories, for the view that correctness of interpretation depends in some essential way on the interpreter. As a result, there’s no room for the possibility that while P is the correct interpretation of an utterance, u, for one interpreter, P* is the correct interpretation of that utterance for another interpreter. Recently, a number of theorists have, (...)
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  25. Herman Cappelen (2007). Semantics and Pragmatics: Some Central Issues. In Gerhard Preyer & Georg Peter (eds.), Context-Sensitivity and Semantic Minimalism: New Essays on Semantics and Pragmatics. Oxford University Press. 3--24.
    Introduction to Context-Sensitivity and Semantic Minimalism: Essays on Semantics and Pragmatics, 2007, Oxford University Press, (eds. Preyer and Peter).
     
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  26. Herman Cappelen (2007). Propositional Skeletons and Disquotational Reports. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 107 (1pt2):207-227.
    One of the three central issues in Lloyd Humberstone's ‘Sufficiency and Excess’ is what he calls ‘the Complete Thought Issue’ (CTI, for short). This is the question of whether some declarative sentences have proposition radicals, rather than full-blown propositions, as their semantic values. My focus in this reply is exclusively on Humberstone's comments about CTI and on CTI more generally. The goal of Humberstone's discussion of CTI is to defend ‘[Kent] Bach's claim against Cappelen and Lepore's attacks’ (Humberstone, 2006, p. (...)
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  27. Herman Cappelen & John Hawthorne (2007). Locations and Binding. Analysis 67 (294):95–105.
    It is natural to think that the relationship between ‘rain’ and the location of rain is different from the relationship between ‘dance’ and the location of dancing. Utterances of (1) are typically interpreted as, in some sense, being about a location in which it rains. (2) is, typically, not interpreted as being about a location in which the dancing takes place.
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  28. Herman Cappelen & Ernest Lepore (2007). Language Turned on Itself: The Semantics and Pragmatics of Metalinguistic Discourse. OUP Oxford.
    Language Turned on Itself examines what happens when language becomes self-reflexive; when language is used to talk about language. Those who think, talk, and write about language are habitual users of various metalinguistic devices, but reliance on these devices begins early: kids are told, 'That's called a "rabbit"'. It's not implausible that a primitive capacity for the meta-linguistic kicks in at the beginning stages of language acquisition. But no matter when or how frequently these devices are invoked, one thing is (...)
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  29. Herman Cappelen & Ernie Lepore (2007). Relevance Theory and Shared Content. In Noel Burton-Roberts (ed.), Pragmatics. Palgrave Macmillan. 115--135.
    Speakers share content when they make the same assertion (claim, conjecture, proposal, etc). They also share content when they propose (entertain, discuss, etc.) the same hypothesis, theory, and thought. And again when they evaluate whether what each says (thinks, claims, suggests, etc.) is true, false, interesting, obscene, original or offensive. Content sharing, so understood, is the very foundation of communication. Relevance Theory (RT), however, implies that content sharing is impossible; or at least, we will argue as much in what follows.
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  30. Herman Cappelen & Ernie Lepore (2007). The Myth of Unarticulated Constituents. In Michael O'Rourke & Corey Washington (eds.), Situating Semantics: Essays on the Philosophy of John Perry. MIT Press. 199-214.
    This paper evaluates arguments presented by John Perry (and Ken Taylor) in favor of the presence of an unarticulated constituent in the proposition expressed by utterance of, for example, (1):1 1. It's raining (at t). We contend that these arguments are, at best, inconclusive. That's the critical part of our paper. On the positive side, we argue that (1) has as its semantic content the proposition that it is raining (at t) and that this is a location-neutral proposition. According to (...)
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  31. Anne Bezuidenhout, Steven Gross, Francois Recanati, Zoltan Gendler Szabo, Charles Travis, Herman Cappelen & Ernest Lepore (2006). Multiple Review of Insensitive Semantics. Authors' Reply. Mind and Language 21 (1):1-73.
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  32. Herman Cappelen & Ernest Lepore (2006). Response. Mind and Language 21 (1):50–73.
    Reading these excellent commentaries we already wish we had written another book—a more comprehensive, clearer, and better defended one than what we have. We are, however, quite fond of the book we ended up with, and so we’ve decided that, rather than to yield, we’ll clarify. These contributions have helped us do that, and for that we are grateful to our critics. We’re lucky in that many (so far about twenty)1 extremely able philosophers have read and commented on our work (...)
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  33. Herman Cappelen & Ernest Lepore (2006). Shared Content. In Ernest Lepore & Barry C. Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language. Oxford University Press. 1020--1055.
    A general and fundamental tension surrounds our concept of what is said. On the one hand, what is said (asserted, claimed, stated, etc.) by utterances of a significant range of sentences is highly context sensitive. More specifically, (Observation 1 (O1)), what these sentences can be used to say depends on their contexts of utterance. On the other hand, speakers face no difficulty whatsoever in using many of these sentences to say (or make) the exact same claim, assertion, etc., across a (...)
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  34. Herman Cappelen & Ernie Lepore (2006). Précis of Insensitive Semantics. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (2):425–434.
    Insensitive Semantics (I) has three components: It defends a positive theory; it presents a methodology for how to distinguish semantic context sensitivity from other kinds of context sensitivity; and finally, it includes chapters critical of other contributors on these issues. In this Précis, we outline each component, but before doing so a few brief ‘big picture’ remarks about the positions defended in IS are in order.
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  35. Herman Cappelen & Ernie Lepore (2006). Quotation, Context Sensitivity, Signs and Expressions. Philosophical Issues 16 (1):43–64.
    Can one and the same quotation be used on different occasions to quote distinct objects? The view that it can is taken for granted throughout the literature (e.g. Goddard & Routley 1966, Christensen 1967, Davidson 1979, Goldstein 1984, Jorgensen et al 1984, Atlas 1989, Clark & Gerrig 1990, Washington 1992, García-Carpintero 1994, 2004, 2005, Reimer 1996, Saka 1998, Wertheimer 1999). Garcia-Carpintero (1994, p. 261) illustrates with the quotation expression ''gone''. He says it can be used to quote any of the (...)
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  36. Herman Cappelen & Ernie Lepore (2006). Replies. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (2):469–492.
    Symposium on Insensitive Semantics. Replies to Kent Bach, John Hawthorne, Kepa Korta and John Perry, and Robert J. Stainton.
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  37. Herman Cappelen & Ernie Lepore (2006). Reply to Critics. Mind and Language 21 (1):50-73.
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  38. Lloyd Humberstone & Herman Cappelen (2006). Sufficiency and Excess. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 106 (1):265-320.
    This paper assembles examples and considerations bearing on such questions as the following. Are statements to the effect that someone is too young (for instance) or that someone is old enough always to be understood in terms of someone's being too young or too old for such-and-such-for example, for them to join a particular organization? And when a 'such-and-such' has been specified, is it always at least tacitly modal in force-in the case just given, too young or old enough to (...)
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  39. Michael A. Bishop, J. D. Trout, L. Johannes Brandl, Marian David, Leopold Stubenberg, Herman Cappelen & Ernie Lepore (2005). Appearance in This List Neither Guarantees nor Precludes a Future Review of the Book. Agamben, Giorgio, Trans. Kevin Attell, State of Exception, London and Chicago: Univer-Sity of Chicago Press, 2005, Pp. Vii+ 95,£ 8.50, $12.00. Aiken, William and John Haldane (Eds), Philosophy and Its Public Role, Exeter, UK and Charlottesville, VA: Imprint Academic, 2004, Pp. Vi+ 272,£ 14.95, $29.90. [REVIEW] Mind 114:454.
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  40. Herman Cappelen (2005). Insensitive Semantics: A Defense of Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism. Blackwell Pub..
     
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  41. Herman Cappelen (2005). Pluralistic Skepticism: Advertisement for Speech Act Pluralism. Philosophical Perspectives 19 (1):15–39.
    Even though the lines of thought that support skepticism are extremely compelling, we're inclined to look for ways of blocking them because it appears to be an impossible view to accept, both for intellectual and practical reasons. One goal of this paper is to show that when skepticism is packaged right, it has few problematic implications (or at least fewer than is often assumed). It is, for example, compatible with all the following claims (when these are correctly interpreted).
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  42. Herman Cappelen & Ernie Lepore (2005). A Tall Tale: In Defense of Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism. In Gerhard Preyer & Georg Peter (eds.), Contextualism in Philosophy: Knowledge, Meaning, and Truth. Oxford University Press. 197-220.
    In Insensitive Semantics (2004), we argue for two theses – Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism. In this paper, we outline our defense against two objections often raised against Semantic Minimalism. To get to that defense, we first need some stage setting. To that end, we begin with five stage setting sections. These lead to the first objection, viz., that it might follow from our view that comparative adjectives are context insensitive. We defend our view against that objection (not, as (...)
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  43. Herman Cappelen & Ernie Lepore (2005). Radical and Moderate Pragmatics: Does Meaning Determine Truth Conditions? In Zoltán Gendler Szabó (ed.), Semantics versus Pragmatics. Oxford University Press.
    But the sort of context sensitivity exhibited in such sentences does not compromise the claim that meaning determines truth conditions, since recourse to context here is directed and restricted by conventional meaning alone. Anyone who understands sentence (2) knows that its utterances are true just in case whatever object is demonstrated in the context of utterance is nice; and he also knows that any utterance of (2) says of, or expresses about, whichever object is demonstrated that it’s nice. (Similarly, anyone (...)
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  44. Herman Cappelen & Ernie Lepore Malden (2005). Of Mind and Music. 1999. Reprint. By Laird Addis. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004. Pp. Xi, 146. Cosmology and Architecture in Premodern Islam: An Architectural Reading of Mystical Ideas. By Samer Akkach. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005. Pp. Xxv, 262. [REVIEW] Philosophical Review 114 (3).
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  45. Ernest Lepore & Herman Cappelen (2005). Insensitive Semantics: A Defense of Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism. Blackwell Pub..
    Insensitive Semantics is an overview of and contribution to the debates about how to accommodate context sensitivity within a theory of human communication, ...
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  46. Ernest Lepore & Herman Cappelen (2004). Davidson: Sobre Decir-Lo-Mismo. Ideas Y Valores 125 (125):7-21.
    Three basic elements for a neodavidsonian semantics are presented in thisarticle. Firstly, a rejection of the thesis according to which the semanticcontent is identical with the speech act content. Secondly, the adoption ofsemantic minimalism as the proper domain where a truth-conditionalsemantics ..
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  47. Herman Cappelen & Ernie Lepore (2003). Varieties of Quotation Revisited. Belgian Journal of Linguistics (17):51-75.
    This paper develops the view presented in our 1997 paper "Varieties of Quotation". In the first part of the paper we show how phenomena such as scare-quotes, echoing and mimicry can be treated as what we call Speech Act Heuristics. We then defend a semantic account of mixed quotation. Along the way we discuss the role of indexicals in mixed quotation and the noncancelability of reference to words in mixed quotation. We also respond to some objections raised by Recanati, Saka, (...)
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  48. Ernie Lepore & Herman Cappelen (2003). Context Shifting Arguments. Philosophical Perspectives 17 (1):25–50.
    Context Shifting Arguments (CSA) ask us to consider two utterances of an unambiguous, non-vague, non-elliptic sentence S. If the consensus intuition is that what’s said, or expressed or the truth-conditions, and so possibly the truthvalues, of these utterances differ, then CSA concludes S is context sensitive. Consider, for example, simultaneous utterances of ‘I am wearing a hat’, one by Stephen, one by Jason. Intuitively, these utterances can vary in truth-value contingent upon who is speaking the sentence, while holding hat-wearing constant, (...)
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  49. Herman Cappelen & Ernie Lepore (2002). Indexicality, Binding, Anaphora and A Priori Truth. Analysis 62 (4):271-81.
    Indexicals are linguistic expressions whose meaning remain stable while their reference shifts from utterance to utterance. Paradigmatic cases in English are ‘I’, ‘here’, and ‘now’. Recently, a number of authors have argued that various constructions in our language harbor hidden indexicals. We say 'hidden' because these indexicals are unpronounced, even though they are alleged to be real linguistic components. Constructions taken by some authors to be associated, or to ‘co-habit’, with hidden indexicals include: definite descriptions and quantifiers more generally (hidden (...)
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  50. Herman Cappelen & Josh Dever (2001). Believing in Words. Synthese 127 (3):279 - 301.
    The semantic puzzles posed by propositional attitude contexts have, since Frege, been understood primarily in terms of certain substitution puzzles. We will take as paradigmatic of such substitution puzzles cases in which two coreferential proper names cannot be intersubstituted salva veritate in the context of an attitude verb. Thus, for example, the following sentences differ in truth value: (1) Lois Lane believes Superman can fly. (2) Lois Lane believes Clark Kent can fly. despite the fact that "Superman" and "Clark Kent" (...)
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