¿Cómo puede la lógica representar expresiones indéxicas como “yo”, “aquí” y “ahora”? ¿Cómo no debe representarlas? Examino estas dos preguntas a partir de la Lógica de los Demostrativos (LD) de Kaplan y su impopular prohibición de operadores monstruosos. A pesar de algunos defectos de formulación, sostengo que dicha prohibición está guiada por una poderosa visión de las relaciones lógicas de validez entre oraciones con indéxicos que desafía la concepción tradicional de consecuencia lógica como preservación de la verdad y resalta el (...) papel fundamental de la información semántica en la construcción de sistemas formales concebidos como modelos de las lenguas naturales. (shrink)
Este trabajo analiza los patrones de desambiguación de presuposiciones que se pueden considerar anafóricas y son generadas por partículas indexicales. En contraste con teorías recientes sobre la presuposición que privilegian la información lexical proponemos un análisis perspectivo de la presuposición según el cual la inferencia por defecto sobre este tipo de información hace uso de la perspectiva de los hablantes. En dos estudios exploramos el patrón de desambiguación de oraciones que contienen la palabra ‘también’ en contextos donde se usa el (...) indéxico ‘yo’. Los resultados confirman nuestra hipótesis y se discuten a la luz las principales ideas sobre presuposición y anáfora. A partir de estos resultados sugerimos algunas direcciones futuras de investigación. (shrink)
Maximilian de Gaynesford has argued against the standard view that the reference of the first-person pronoun ‘I’ is determined by a rule linking the referent to some feature of the context of use. In this paper, we argue that de Gaynesford's arguments are inconclusive. Our main aim, however, is to formulate a novel version of the reference rule for ‘I’. We argue that this version can deal with several problematic cases. Our strategy involves analysing the so-called agent of the context (...) as the person responsible for a particular speech act. From this analysis, we exclude a particular class of uses of ‘I’, uses that we believe are best understood as demonstrative. (shrink)
The debate over the meanings of indexical expressions has relied heavily on the method of counterexamples. This paper challenges that method by showing that purported counterexamples can often be explained away by appeal to perspective shifts. For these counterexamples to establish anything about indexical reference, we must identify the conditions under which theorists can legitimately appeal to perspective shifts. Some tests for semantic content are considered and it is argued that none of them can tell us when appeal to perspective (...) shift is admissible. The paper then considers how we should proceed if we become convinced that there is no way to identify the content of indexical expressions, offering reasons in favour of a nihilist conception of character over an epistemicist or pluralist conception. (shrink)
Gillian Russell has recently proposed counterexamples to such elementary argument forms as Conjunction Introduction and Identity. These purported counterexamples involve expressions that are sensitive to linguistic context—for example, a sentence which is true when it appears alone but false when embedded in a larger sentence. If they are genuine counterexamples, it looks as though logical nihilism—the view that there are no valid argument forms—might be true. In this paper, I argue that the purported counterexamples are not genuine, on the grounds (...) that they equivocate. Having defused the threat of logical nihilism, I argue that the kind of linguistic context sensitivity at work in Russell’s purported counterexamples, if taken seriously, far from leading to logical nihilism, reveals new, previously undreamt-of valid forms. By way of proof of concept I present a simple logic, Solo-Only Propositional Logic, designed to capture some of them. Along the way, some interesting subtleties about the fallacy of equivocation are revealed. (shrink)
This paper presents a dual intention model (DIM) of demonstrations as actions to show the agentive nature of demonstrations. According to the DIM, demonstrations are complex actions that contain as components at least three elements: an abductive intention, a deictic intention, and a basic ostensive act of indication. This paper unpacks these three components and discusses their roles from the viewpoint of the philosophy of action and the philosophy of language. It also shows how the DIM applies in selected practical (...) examples and explains the merits of the model in the context of other views on demonstrations and demonstratives. (shrink)
According to what is perhaps the dominant picture of reference, what a referential term refers to in a context is determined by what the speaker intends for her audience to identify as the referent. I argue that this sort of broadly Gricean view entails, counterintuitively, that it is impossible to knowingly use referential terms in ways that one expects or intends to be misunderstood. Then I sketch an alternative which can better account for such opaque uses of language, or what (...) I call “sneaky reference.” I close by reflecting on the ramifications of these arguments for the theory of meaning more broadly. (shrink)
The standard approach to model how human beings understand natural languages is the symbolic, compositional approach according to which the meaning of a complex expression is a function of the meanings of its constituents. In other words, meaning plays a fundamental role in the model. In this work, because of the polysemous, flexible, dynamic, and contextual structure of natural languages, this approach is rejected. Instead, a connectionist model which eliminates the concept of meaning is proposed.
Lexical innovations (e.g., zero-derivations coined on the fly by a speaker) seem to bear semantic content. Yet, such expressions cannot bear semantic content as a function of the conventions of meaning in force in the language, since they are not part of its lexicon. This is in tension with the commonplace view that the semantic content of lexical expressions is constituted by linguistic conventions. The conventionalist has two immediate ways out of the tension. The first is to preserve the conventionalist (...) assumption and deny that lexical innovations bear semantic content. The second is to dynamicize the conventionalist assumption, that is, argue that presentations of unattested expressions trigger an augmentation of the standing semantic resources of the language and instantiate content as a result of this underlying update. Building on a comparison with the production of novel onomatopoeic words, iconic pseudowords and pro-speech gestures, the paper argues that the issue is best addressed by suspending the conventionalist assumption, and describes the metasemantic implications of the claim. (shrink)
The use-mention distinction is elaborated into a four-way distinction between use, formal mention, material mention and pragmatic mention. The notion of pragmatic mention is motivated through the problem of monsters in Kaplanian indexical semantics. It is then formalized and applied in an account of schemata in formalized languages.
According to the Self-Location Thesis, certain types of visual experiences have self-locating and so first-person, spatial contents. Such self-locating contents are typically specified in relational egocentric terms. So understood, visual experiences provide support for the claim that there is a kind of self-consciousness found in experiential states. This paper critically examines the Self-Location Thesis with respect to dynamic-reflexive visual experiences, which involve the movement of an object toward the location of the perceiving subject. The main aim of this paper is (...) to offer an alternative interpretation of these cases which resists attributing them self-locating content, arguing for a replacement of the de se component with a non-conceptual equivalent of the indexical ‘here’. In its final section, the paper also considers an extension of the h-replacement account to cases of visual kinesthesis. (shrink)
This chapter provides a general overview of the issues surrounding so-called semantic monsters. In section 1, I outline the basics of Kaplan’s framework and spell out how and why the topic of “monsters” arises within that framework. In Section 2, I distinguish four notions of a monster that are discussed in the literature, and show why, although they can pull apart in different frameworks or with different assumptions, they all coincide within Kaplan’s framework. In Section 3, I discuss one notion (...) that has spun off into the linguistics literature, namely “indexical shift”. In Section 4, I emphasize the connection between monsters and the compositionality of asserted content in Kaplan’s original discussion. Section 5 discusses monsters and the more general idea of re-interpretation or meaning-shift. Section 6 closes with a brief survey of where monsters may dwell, and pointers to avenues for future research. (shrink)
The traditional view is that 'now’ is a pure indexical, denoting the utterance time. Yet, despite its initial appeal, the view has faced criticism. A range of data reveal 'now’ allows for discourse-bound (i.e., anaphoric) uses, and can occur felicitously with the past tense. The reaction to this has typically been to treat ‘now’ as akin to a true demonstrative, selecting the prominent time supplied by the non-linguistic context or prior discourse. We argue this is doubly mistaken. The first mistake (...) concerns the semantic value of ‘now’, which is not a time, but a state — the consequent state of a prominent event. The second is that ‘now’ is a pure indexical after all, insofar as its interpretation is determined without recourse to extra-linguistic supplementation. Specifically, we argue that any occurrence of 'now’ selects the consequent state of the most prominent event, where event-prominence is linguistically maintained through prominence-affecting updates contributed by coherence relations. Our analysis accounts straightforwardly for a wide range of discourse initial and discourse bound uses of ‘now’, while giving it a simple indexical meaning. (shrink)
Relativized Metaphysical Modality (RMM: Murray and Wilson, 'Relativized metaphysical modality', Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, 2012; Murray, Perspectives on Modal Metaphysics, 2017) exploits 'two-dimensionalist' resources to metaphysical, rather than epistemological, ends: the second dimension offers perspective-dependence without contingency, diverting attacks on 'Classical' analyses of modals (in effect, analyses validating S5 and the Barcan Formulae). Here, we extend the RMM program in two directions. First, we harvest resources for RMM from Lewis's 1980 'Context--Index' (CI) framework: (a) the ban in CI on binding (...) into context-arguments (akin to Kaplan's 'monstrosity' ban) projects a bright line between perspective-dependence and contingency; and (b) CI-postulated connections among meaning, content, truth, argument-structure, context, and modality collectively generate a 'Generalized Humphrey Problem' for any non-Classical analysis (examples covered include appeals to accessibility, contingent domains, and counterpart relations). Second, we sharpen the tools of RMM-based metaphysical analysis, and extend their domain of coverage across familiar anomalies for Classical modals: we revisit earlier RMM-based bulwarks for S5 (against 'Chisholm's Paradox' for moderate flexibility of essence, and nomological necessitarianism); and we now similarly shore up the Barcan Formulae (against the apparent contingency of existence and nonexistence). (shrink)
Kaplan’s influential (1989) makes a connection between the mode of reference of indexical expressions and the impossibility of a certain sentential operators, which he calls monsters. The impossibility of monsters has recently come under attack from several quarters, both theoretical and empirical. In this paper I consider monsters from a different perspective. I motivate the prohibition on monsters independently of intensional notions altogether, and understand it not as an empirical hypothesis, but as an adequacy criterion on formal systems intended to (...) capture the philosophical notion of direct reference. I show that Kaplan's formalism doesn't live up to this criterion, and sketch in preliminary fashion a formalism that does. (shrink)
I propose an apparatus for handling intrasentential change in context. The standard approach has problems with sentences with multiple occurrences of the same demonstrative or indexical. My proposal involves the idea that contexts can be complex. Complex contexts are built out of (“simple”) Kaplanian contexts by ordered n-tupling. With these we can revise the clauses of Kaplan’s Logic of Demonstratives so that each part of a sentence is taken in a different component of a complex context. I consider other applications (...) of the framework: to agentially distributed utterances (ones made partly by one speaker and partly by another); to an account of scare-quoting; and to an account of a binding-like phenomenon that avoids what Kit Fine calls “the antinomy of the variable.”. (shrink)
Nowak and Michaelson have done us the service of presenting direct and clear worries about our account of demonstratives. In response, we use the opportunity to engage briefly with their remarks as a useful way to clarify our view.
Since sending explicit messages can be costly, people often utilize “what is not said,” i.e., informative silence, to economize communication. This paper studies the efficient communication rule, which is fully informative while minimizing the use of explicit messages, in cooperative environments. It is shown that when the notion of context is defined as the finest mutually self-evident event that contains the current state, the efficient use of informative silence exhibits the defining property of indexicals in natural languages. While the efficient (...) use of silence could be complex, it is also found that the efficient use of silence can be as “simple” as the use of indexicals in natural languages if and only if the information structure satisfies some centrality and dominance properties. (shrink)
Intentionalism is the view that demonstratives, gradable adjectives, quantifiers, modals and other context‐sensitive expressions are intention‐sensitive: their semantic value on a given use is fixed by speaker intentions. The first aim of this paper is to defend Intentionalism against three recent objections, according to which speakers at least sometimes do not have suitable intentions when using supposedly intention‐sensitive expressions. Its second aim is to thereby shed light on the so far little‐explored question of which kinds of intentions can be semantically (...) relevant. (shrink)
Kaplan (1989) famously claimed that monsters--operators that shift the context--do not exist in English and "could not be added to it". Several recent theorists have pointed out a range of data that seem to refute Kaplan's claim, but others (most explicitly Stalnaker 2014) have offered a principled argument that monsters are impossible. This paper interprets and resolves the dispute. Contra appearances, this is no dry, technical matter: it cuts to the heart of a deep disagreement about the fundamental structure of (...) a semantic theory. We argue that: (i) the interesting notion of a monster is not an operator that shifts some formal parameter, but rather an operator that shifts parameters that play a certain theoretical role; (ii) one cannot determine whether a given semantic theory allows monsters simply by looking at the formal semantics; (iii) theories which forbid shifting the formal "context" parameter are perfectly compatible with the existence of monsters (in the interesting sense). We explain and defend these claims by contrasting two kinds of semantic theory--Kaplan's (1989) and Lewis's (1980). (shrink)
On a traditional view, the semantics of natural language makes essential use of a context parameter, i.e. a set of coordinates that represents the situation of speech. In classical semantic frameworks, this parameter plays two key roles: first, context contributes to determining the content of utterance; second, it is crucial for defining logical consequence. I point out that recent empirical proposals about context shift in natural language (in particular, context-shifting semantics in the style of Anand and Nevins 2004) are incompatible (...) with the traditional view of context. At the same time, there is increasing cross-linguistic support for this brand of context shift. Hence I suggest that context has no place in semantic theory proper. We should revert back to so-called multiple-indexing frameworks that were developed by Montague and others, and relegate context to the postsemantic stage. (shrink)
Recording devices are generally taken to present problems for the standard Kaplanian semantics for indexicals. In this paper, I argue that the remote utterance view offers the best way for the Kaplanian semantics to handle the recalcitrant data that comes from the use of recording devices. Following Sidelle I argue that recording devices allow agents to perform utterances at a distance. Using the essential, but widely ignored, distinction between tokens and utterances, I develop the view beyond the initial sketch given (...) by Sidelle, and I answer the main objections raised against the view. The paper is structured as follows. Section 1 gives a succinct presentation of Kaplanian semantics and of the problem raised by the use recording devices, Section 2 presents the remote utterance view and Section 3 answers the objections put forward against the view and further develops it. I conclude that the remote utterance view can handle the data that comes from the use of recording devices with only modest modifications of the Kaplanian semantics. (shrink)
My modest aim in this paper is to prove certain relations between some type of hyper-intensional operators, namely context shifting operators, and compositionality in natural languages. Various authors (e.g. von Fintel & Matthewson 2008; Stalnaker 2014) have argued that context-shifting operators are incompatible with compositionality. In fact, some of them understand Kaplan’s (1989) famous ban on context-shifting operators as a constraint on compositionality. Others, (e.g. Rabern 2013) take contextshifting operators to be compatible with compositionality but, unfortunately, do not provide a (...) proof, or an argument in favor of their position. The aim of this paper is to do precisely that. Additionally, I provide a new proof that compositionality for propositional content (intension) is a proper generalization of compositionality for character (hyper-intensions). (shrink)
У статті розглянуто інтертекстуальне тло в романі Сергія Оксеника «Вбивство п’яноï піонерки». Ідеться про використання художньоï літератури, кіно і пісень як джерела зображення ретрочасу. Виявлено, що система мікротекстів в основному тексті відображає атмосферу 1960-х років. Проаналізовано цитати, алюзіï, стилізацію як прийоми для художнього конструювання суспільних і моральних проблем того часу. Визначено, що цитування чужих текстів у романі забезпечує своєрідну поліфонічність основного тексту, увиразнює часовий пласт мистецьких пріоритетів і рівня культури персонажів. Використовуючи чужі тексти, автор розраховував на ерудицію і мистецькі уподобання (...) читача, зробив натяки на характери відомих героїв літератури, кіно та естради. Вказано на те, що завдяки інтертексту у площині постпам’яті активізовано промовисті деталі, відчуття та емоціï, які розвінчують радянський міф і пояснюють проблеми сучасного українського суспільства. (shrink)
It's sometimes thought that context-invariant linguistic meaning must be a character (a function from context types to contents) i.e. that linguistic meaning must determine how the content of an expression is fixed in context. This is thought because if context-invariant linguistic meaning were not a character then communication would not be possible. In this paper, I explain how communication could proceed even if context-invariant linguistic meaning were not a character.
I argue that not all context dependent expressions are alike. Pure (or ordinary) indexicals behave more or less as Kaplan thought. But quasi indexicals behave in some ways like indexicals and in other ways not like indexicals. A quasi indexical sentence φ allows for cases in which one party utters φ and the other its negation, and neither party’s claim has to be false. In this sense, quasi indexicals are like pure indexicals (think: “I am a doctor”/“I am not a (...) doctor” as uttered by different individuals). In such cases involving a pure indexical sentence, it is not appropriate for the two parties to reject each other’s claims by saying, “No.” However, in such cases involving a quasi indexical sentence, it is appropriate for the par- ties to reject each other’s claims. In this sense, quasi indexicals are not like pure indexicals. Drawing on experimental evidence, I argue that gradable adjectives like “rich” are quasi indexicals in this sense. e existence of quasi indexicals raises trouble for many existing theories of context dependence, including standard contextualist and relativist theories. I propose an alternative semantic and pragmatic theory of quasi indexicals, negotiated contextualism, that combines insights from Kaplan 1989 and Lewis 1979. On my theory, rejection is licensed with quasi indexicals (even when neither of the claims involved has to be false) because the two utterances involve conflicting proposals about how to update the conversational score. I also adduce evidence that conflicting truth value assessments of a single quasi indexical utterance exhibit the same behavior. I argue that negotiated contextualism can account for this puzzling property of quasi indexicals as well. (shrink)
In response to Stefano Predelli's article finding in David Kaplan's “Demonstratives” a distinction between “context shifting” monsters and “operators on character,” I argue that context shifters are operators on character. That conclusion conflicts with the claim that operators on character must be covertly quotational. But that claim is itself unmotivated.
Montague and Kaplan began a revolution in semantics, which promised to explain how a univocal expression could make distinct truth-conditional contributions in its various occurrences. The idea was to treat context as a parameter at which a sentence is semantically evaluated. But the revolution has stalled. One salient problem comes from recurring demonstratives: "He is tall and he is not tall". For the sentence to be true at a context, each occurrence of the demonstrative must make a different truth-conditional contribution. (...) But this difference cannot be accounted for by standard parameter sensitivity. Semanticists, consoled by the thought that this ambiguity would ultimately be needed anyhow to explain anaphora, have been too content to posit massive ambiguities in demonstrative pronouns. This article aims to revived the parameter revolution by showing how to treat demonstrative pronouns as univocal while providing an account of anaphora that doesn't end up re-introducing the ambiguity. (shrink)
According to a widespread picture due to Kaplan, there are two levels of semantic value: character and content. Character is determined by the grammar, and it determines content with respect to context. In this chapter Recanati criticizes that picture on several grounds. He shows that we need more than two levels, and rejects the determination thesis: that linguistic meaning as determined by grammar determines content. Grammatical meaning does not determine assertoric content, he argues, but merely constrains it — speaker’s meaning (...) necessarily comes into play. On the alternative picture he offers, there are four basic levels, only one of which is determined by the grammar. Pragmatics is what enables the transition from each level to the next. (shrink)
Extant contextualist theories have relied on the mechanism of pragmatically driven modulation to explain the way non-indexical expressions take on different interpretations in different contexts. In this paper I argue that a modulation-based contextualist semantics is untenable with respect to non-ambiguous expressions whose invariant meaning fails to determine a unique literal interpretation, such as ‘lawyer’ ‘musician’ ‘book’ and ‘game’. The invariant meaning of such an expression corresponds to a range of closely related and equally basic interpretations, none of which can (...) be distinguished as the literal interpretation. Moreover, what counts as a literal interpretation as opposed to a non-literal one is arguably vague. The nonuniqueness of the literal interpretation and the vagueness in the literal/non-literal divide doubly challenge a modulation-based semantics, for modulation is supposed to operate on a unique literal interpretation to generate a clearly non-literal interpretation. Lastly I contend that non-ambiguous expressions which lack determinate literal interpretation are amenable to a Radical Contextualist semantics, according to which the invariant meaning of such an expression directs its interpretation to congruent background information in context. Thereby, these expressions exhibit semantically driven context sensitivity without displaying indexicality. (shrink)
Recent work in formal semantics suggests that the language system includes not only a structure building device, as standardly assumed, but also a natural deductive system which can determine when expressions have trivial truth‐conditions (e.g., are logically true/false) and mark them as unacceptable. This hypothesis, called the ‘logicality of language’, accounts for many acceptability patterns, including systematic restrictions on the distribution of quantifiers. To deal with apparent counter‐examples consisting of acceptable tautologies and contradictions, the logicality of language is often paired (...) with an additional assumption according to which logical forms are radically underspecified: i.e., the language system can see functional terms but is ‘blind’ to open class terms to the extent that different tokens of the same term are treated as if independent. This conception of logical form has profound implications: it suggests an extreme version of the modularity of language, and can only be paired with non‐classical—indeed quite exotic—kinds of deductive systems. The aim of this paper is to show that we can pair the logicality of language with a different and ultimately more traditional account of logical form. This framework accounts for the basic acceptability patterns which motivated the logicality of language, can explain why some tautologies and contradictions are acceptable, and makes better predictions in key cases. As a result, we can pursue versions of the logicality of language in frameworks compatible with the view that the language system is not radically modular vis‐á‐vis its open class terms and employs a deductive system that is basically classical. (shrink)
The verb 'knows' is often taken to be context-sensitive in an interesting way. What 'knows' means seems to be sensitive to the epistemic features of the context, e.g. the epistemic standard in play, the set of relevant alternatives, etc. There are standard model-theoretic semantic frameworks which deal with both intensional operators and context-sensitive expressions. In this chapter, we provide a brief overview of the various moving parts of these frameworks, the roles of context and index, the need for double indexing, (...) and the relationship between semantic value and content. With the best version of the standard framework explicated we then return at the end to the treatment of ‘know’ as a context-sensitive intensional operator (contrasting it with an invariantist treatment). (shrink)
My aim in this paper is to lay out a number of theses which are very widely held in contemporary philosophy of language and linguistics, and to argue that, given some extra theses for which I’ll argue, they are inconsistent. Some of this will involve going through some very well-trodden territory—my hope is that presenting this familiar ground in the way that I do will help to make plain the problem that I aim to identify.
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 (...) value of a pronoun is never determined, even partly, by extra-linguistic cues; it is fixed, invariably and unambiguously, by features of its context of use governed entirely by linguistic rules. We exploit the mechanisms of Centering and Coherence theories to develop a precise and general meta-semantics for pronouns, according to which the semantic value of a pronoun is determined by what is at the center of attention in a coherent discourse. Since the notions of attention and coherence are, we argue, governed by linguistic rules, we can give a uniform analysis of pronoun resolution that covers bound, demonstrative, and even discourse bound readings. Just as the semantic value of the first-person pronoun ‘I’ is conventionally set by a particular feature of its context of use—namely, the speaker—so too, we will argue, the semantic values of other pronouns, including ‘he’, are conventionally set by particular features of the context of use. (shrink)
Inspired by Schlenker's (2003) seminal 'Plea for Monsters', linguists have been analyzing every occurrence of a shifted indexical by postulating a monstrous operator. My aim in this paper is to show that Kaplan's (1989) original strategy of explaining apparent shifting in terms of a quotational use/mention distinction offers a much more intuitive, parsimonious and empirically superior analysis of many of these phenomena, including direct--indirect switches in Ancient Greek, role shift in signed languages, free indirect discourse in literary narratives, and mixed (...) quotation. Format: . (shrink)
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 (...) very fine-grained individuation of names), or because names have an indexical-like semantics that returns a referent given certain specific contextual parameters. I discuss and criticize these views in detail, arguing, essentially, in both cases, that there can be no determinate criteria for reference determination—a claim required by both types of semantic view. I also consider a less common view on proper name reference: that it is determined wholly by speakers’ intentions. I argue that the most plausible version of this view—a strong neo-Gricean position whereby all utterance content is determined by the communicative intentions of the speaker—is implausible in light of psychological data. In the positive part of my thesis, I develop a pragmatic view of proper name reference that is influenced primarily by the work of Charles Travis. I argue that the reference of proper names can only be satisfactorily accounted for by claiming that reference occurs not at the level of word meaning, but at the pragmatic level, on an occasion of utterance. I claim that the contextual mechanisms that determine the reference of a name on an occasion are the same kinds of thing that determine the truth-values of utterances according to Travis. Thus, names are, effectively, occasion sensitive in the way that Travis claims predicates and sentences (amongst other expressions) are. Finally, I discuss how further research might address how my pragmatic view of reference affects traditional issues in the literature on names, and the consequences of the view for the semantics of names. (shrink)
This paper takes indexicality as a case-study for critical examination of the distinction between semantics and pragmatics as currently conceived in mainstream philosophy of language. Both a ‘pre-indexical’ and ‘post-indexical’ analytic formal semantics are examined and found wanting, and instead an argument is mounted for a ‘properly pragmatist pragmatics’, according to which we do not work out what signs mean in some abstract overall sense and then work out to what use they are being put; rather, we must understand to (...) what use signs are being put in order to work out what they mean. (shrink)
What characterizes indexical thinking is the fact that the modes of presentation through which one thinks of objects are context-bound and perspectival. Such modes of presentation, I claim, are mental files presupposing that we stand in certain relations to the reference : the role of the file is to store information one can gain in virtue of standing in that relation to the object. This raises the communication problem, first raised by Frege : if indexical thoughts are context-bound and relation-based, (...) how is it possible to communicate them to those who are not in the same context and do not stand in the right relations to the object? Following Frege, I argue that the solution comes from an important distinction between linguistic and psychological modes of presentation. Psychological modes of presentation are mental files. They are perspectival and context-bound. But linguistic modes of presentation are fixed by the conventions of the language and they are shared by the language users. They are public and serve to coordinate mental files in communication by constraining them to contain the piece of information they encode. In this way communication takes place even though the indexical thoughts entertained by the speaker are, in some sense, private and cannot be shared by the audience. (shrink)
It is commonly held that the context with respect to which an indexical is interpreted is determined independently of the interpretation of the indexical. This view, which I call Context Realism, has explanatory significance: it is because the context is what it is that an indexical refers to what it does. In this paper, I provide an argument against Context Realism. I then develop an alternative that I call Context Constructivism, according to which indexicals are defined not in terms of (...) features of utterance situations, but rather in terms of roles that objects could play. (shrink)
Dinâmica cognitiva.Ludovic Soutif - 2015 - In João Branquinho & Ricardo Santos (eds.), Compêndio Em Linha de Problemas de Filosofia Analítica. Lisbon: Centro de Filosofia da Universidade de Lisboa. pp. 1-29.details
No presente verbete faço a revisão crítica de algumas entre as mais expressivas tentativas de resolver o chamado ‘problema da dinâmica cognitiva’. De acordo com Kaplan (1989) – que é responsável pelo próprio apelido, a questão que se coloca é: o que significa dizer de uma pessoa que expressou uma crença particular num determinado contexto de proferimento que ela reteve ou mudou de crença fora desse contexto? E caso ajustes (linguísticos, psicológicos) sejam necessários para manter a relação com o conteúdo (...) semântico original, quais são nossas intuições a respeito de casos em que um sujeito cognitivamente saudável perdeu temporariamente a noção do tempo e/ou a capacidade de rastrear objetos no espaço? Exploro diversas respostas a essas perguntas com o intuito de dizer se elas conseguem acomodar os fatos (semânticos, epistêmicos, cognitivos) aí envolvidos. Abstract: In this paper I review some of the most significant attempts to solve the so-called ‘problem of cognitive dynamics’. According to Kaplan (1989), who coined the phrase, the following questions arise – as to the topic: what does it means to say of an individual who expressed a particular belief in a given context of utterance that he/she has re tained orchanged his/her mind with respect to it once the context is left? And assuming that (linguistic or psychological) adjustments are required to keep on being related to the original semantic content, what are our intuitions about the case of a cognitively healthy subject who temporarily lost the ability to keep track of time and/or objects in space? I investigate different ways of answg those questions with a view to saying whether they accommodate all the relevant (semantic, epistemic, cognitive) facts or not. (shrink)
In “Demonstratives”, David Kaplan introduced a simple and remarkably robust semantics for indexicals. Unfortunately, Kaplan’s semantics is open to a number of apparent counterexamples, many of which involve recording devices. The classic case is the sentence “I am not here now” as recorded and played back on an answering machine. In this essay, I argue that the best way to accommodate these data is to conceive of recording technologies as introducing special, non-basic sorts of contexts, accompanied by non-basic conventions governing (...) the use of indexicals in those contexts. The idea is that recording devices allow us to use indexicals in new and innovative ways to coordinate on objects. And, given sufficient regularity in the use of indexicals on such devices, linguistic conventions will, over time, come to reflect this innovation. I consider several alternatives to this ‘character-shifting’ theory, but none is able to account for the data as well as the present proposal. Many face additional theoretical difficulties as well. I conclude by explaining how the character-shifting theory not only retains many of the virtues of Kaplan’s original semantics, but also coheres with a plausible view on the nature of semantic theorizing more generally. (shrink)
First person thoughts are the sort of thought one may express by using the first person ; they are also thoughts that are about the thinker of the thought. Neither characterization is ultimately satisfactory. A thought can be about the thinker of the thought by accident, without being a first person thought. The alternative characterization of first person thought in terms of first person sentences also fails, because it is circular : we need the notion of a first person thought (...) to account for the reference rule governing the first person in language. The paper offers a new characterization of first person thought. A first person thought is a thought which deploys the first person concept, where the first person concept is construed as a special kind of ‘mental file’. Mental files are based on, and their reference determined by, epistemically rewarding (ER) relations in which the subject stands to entities in the environment. In the case of the SELF file, the relevant ER relation is identity. This guarantees that the first-person concept refers to the thinker of the thought in which it is deployed. (shrink)
Content- relativism is a semantic theory that states that the content of an uttered sentence can vary according to some feature of an assessment context. This paper has two objectives. The first is to determine which features a motivational case for content- relativism would display – what would a good case for content- relativism look like? The second is to consider cases that appear to have the required features and evaluate their prospects as motivational cases. I identify two varieties of (...) motivational case for content- relativism : content interpretation and content enhancement. I conclude that only content enhancement cases are likely to motivate content- relativism. (shrink)
Utterances in situated activity are about the world. Theories and systems normally capture this by assuming references must be resolved to real-world entities in utterance understanding. We describe a number of puzzles and problems for this approach, and propose an alternative semantic representation using discourse relations that link utterances to the nonlinguistic context to capture the context-dependent interpretation of situated utterances. Our approach promises better empirical coverage and more straightforward system building. Substantiating these advantages is work in progress.
This paper is a comparison of Kripke’s and Künne’s interpretations of Frege’s theory of indexicals, especially concerning Frege’s remarks on time as “part of the expression of thought”. I analyze the most contrasting features of Kripke’s and Künne’s interpretations of Frege’s remarks on indexicals. Subsequently, I try to identify a common ground between Kripke’s and Künne’s interpretations, and hint at a possible convergence between those two views, stressing the importance given by Frege to nonverbal signs in defining the content of (...) thought. I conclude by indicating a possible direction for further research. (shrink)
In this paper I apply a well known tension between cognitive and semantic aspects in Frege’s notion of sense to his treatment of indexicals. I first discusses Burge’s attack against the identification of sense and meaning, and Kripke’s answer supporting such identification. After showing different problems for both interpreters, the author claims that the tension in Frege’s conception of sense (semantic and cognitive) accounts for some shortcomings of both views, and that considering the tension helps in understanding apparently contradictory Fregean (...) claims about sameness of sense of sentences with indexicals. I conclude that the Fregean notion of sense, also in its cognitive aspect, cannot be reduced to linguistic meaning, and that the Fregean tension between two notions of sense may also explain the discussion Frege gives on the indexical “I”, proposing to develop a picture of indexicals as hidden complex demonstratives, as originally suggested by Burge. (shrink)
Kaplan (1989a) insists that natural languages do not contain displacing devices that operate on character—such displacing devices are called monsters. This thesis has recently faced various empirical challenges (e.g., Schlenker 2003; Anand and Nevins 2004). In this note, the thesis is challenged on grounds of a more theoretical nature. It is argued that the standard compositional semantics of variable binding employs monstrous operations. As a dramatic first example, Kaplan’s formal language, the Logic of Demonstratives, is shown to contain monsters. For (...) similar reasons, the orthodox lambda-calculus-based semantics for variable binding is argued to be monstrous. This technical point promises to provide some far-reaching implications for our understanding of semantic theory and content. The theoretical upshot of the discussion is at least threefold: (i) the Kaplanian thesis that “directly referential” terms are not shiftable/bindable is unmotivated, (ii) since monsters operate on something distinct from the assertoric content of their operands, we must distinguish ingredient sense from assertoric content (cf. Dummett 1973; Evans 1979; Stanley 1997), and (iii) since the case of variable binding provides a paradigm of semantic shift that differs from the other types, it is plausible to think that indexicals—which are standardly treated by means of the assignment function—might undergo the same kind of shift. (shrink)