This paper explains how an assertion may be understood despite there being nothing said or meant by the assertion. That such understanding is possible is revealed by cases of the so-called ``felicitous underspecification'' of demonstratives: cases where there is understanding of an assertion containing a demonstrative despite the interlocutors not settling on one or another object as the one the speaker is talking about (King 2014a, 2017, 2021). I begin by showing how Stalnaker's ( 1999) well-known pragmatic principles adequately permit (...) and constrain the felicitous underspecification of demonstratives. I then establish a connection between the satisfaction of Stalnaker's principles and understanding, and show how that connection sheds further light on the relevant cases. After developing and motivating my proposal, I address some objections to it, then briefly discuss the felicitous underspecification of expressions other than demonstratives alongside contrasting my proposal with a similar one from Bowker (2015, 2019) that concerns definite descriptions. (shrink)
This paper argues, based on Lewis’ claim that communication is a coordination game (Lewis in Minnesota studies in the philosophy of science, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, pp 3–35, 1975), that we can account for the communicative function of demonstratives without assuming that they semantically refer. The appeal of such a game theoretical version of the case for non-referentialism is that the communicative role of demonstratives can be accounted for without entering the cul de sac of trying to construct conventions (...) of ever-increasing complexity. Instead communication via demonstratives is explained with reference to the general, non-domain specific ability of human beings to solve games of coordination. Furthermore, there is empirical support for such a view. Judgments concerning demonstrative reference have been shown to be sensitive to judgments concerning common ground (Clark et al. in J Verb Learn Verb Behav 22:245–258, 1983), which is exactly what the non-referentialist account would predict. The game theoretical account also allows for an intuitively plausible, non-referentialist treatment of Speaks’ ‘trumping argument’ (Speaks in Philos Stud 174:709–734, 2017), as well as the Carnap/Agnew puzzle (Kaplan in Syntax Semant 9:221–43, 1970). (shrink)
As it is broadly accepted, typical uses of demonstratives are accompanied by demonstrations. The concept of demonstration, however, manifests the action–product ambiguity analogous to that visible in the opposition between jumping and the resulting jump, talking and the resulting talk or crying and the resulting cry. It is also a heterogeneous concept that enables demonstrations to vary significantly. The present paper discusses action–product ambiguity as applied to demonstrations as well as the heterogeneity of the latter. An account that acknowledges ambiguity (...) and heterogeneity of demonstrations is sketched in the paper. It is argued that it has a rich explanatory and descriptive potential. (shrink)
Deictic (or pointing) gestures are traditionally known to have a simple function: to supply something as the referent of a demonstrative linguistic expression. I argue that deixis can have a more complex function. A deictic gesture can be used to _say something_ in conversation and can thereby become a full discourse move in its own right. To capture this phenomenon, which I call _rich demonstration_, I present an update semantics on which deictic gestures can indicate situations from a conversation’s context (...) and those situations coherently connect to prior discourse to generate information. (shrink)
Recently, Charles Goldhaber (2019) has argued that Tyler Burge’s (2005, 2010, 2011) arguments against disjunctivism in the philosophy of perception fail when juxtaposed with the literature in perceptual psychology. In addition, Goldhaber traces Burge’s motives for dismissing disjunctivism: his underlying theoretical assumptions vis-à-vis human rationality virtually force him to maintain that there is a genuine inconsistency between disjunctivism and perceptual psychology. While Goldhaber aims to defend epistemological disjunctivism à la John McDowell, my concern will be the other target of Burge’s (...) attack, namely John Campbell’s (2002a, 2002b, 2011a) relationism. I will reexamine the Burge/Campbell debate concerning the role of perceptual psychology in theorizing about the nature of perception and the status of perceptual beliefs so that I can support Goldhaber’s stance that Burge’s plan to put the kibosh on disjunctivism backfires in the end. Finally, by using the challenge of cognitive penetrability, I show how Burge’s argumentation strategy can be turned against him. (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)
The paper discusses the answering machine puzzle and cases of non-standard uses of ‘I’. It offers an analysis of the phenomena that is conservative with respect to the Kaplanian account of indexicality. The point of departure of the paper is the observation that some proper indexicals have demonstrative uses. It is argued that treating some occurrences of ‘now’ as cases of such uses results in an intuitive and simple solution to the answering machine puzzle. At the same time, treating some (...) occurrences of ‘I’ in an analogous manner explains away the impression that some non-standard uses of ‘I’ enforce a modification of the standard semantics of the first-person pronoun. (shrink)
The phenomenon of context dependence is so multifaceted that it is tempting to classify it as hetergenous. It is especially evident in the case of the difference between context dependence as understood in the philosophy of language and context dependence as understood in the philosophy of mind. One of the aims of the present volume is to show that as varied as the phenomenon of context dependence is, the similarities between its different manifestations are profound and undeniable. More importantly, as (...) evidenced in a number of papers presented on the subsequent pages of this volume, a broad perspective on the phenomenon of context dependence helps us to re-apply theories devised for one of the subfields of philosophy to the other subfields. Since the connections and analogies between many uses of contextualism may not be initially obvious, keeping an open perspective and the willingness to learn from the work of others may sometimes be crucial for finding new, satisfactory solutions. (shrink)
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)
It is increasingly common for philosophers to rely on the notion of an idealised listener when explaining how the semantic values of context-sensitive expressions are determined. Some have identified the semantic values of such expressions, as used on particular occasions, with whatever an appropriately idealised listener would take them to be. Others have argued that, for something to count as the semantic value, an appropriately idealised listener should be able to recover it. Our aim here is to explore the range (...) of ways that such idealisation might be worked out, and then to argue that none of these results in a very plausible theory. We conclude by reflecting on what this negative result reveals about the nature of meaning and responsibility. (shrink)
Natural languages are riddled with context-sensitivity. One and the same string of words can express many different meanings on occasion of use, and yet we understand one another effortlessly, on the fly. How do we do so? What fixes the meaning of context-sensitive expressions, and how are we able to recover the meaning so effortlessly? -/- This book offers a novel response: we can do so because we draw on a broad array of subtle linguistic conventions that determine the interpretation (...) of context-sensitive items. Contrary to the dominant tradition, which maintains that the meaning of context-sensitive language is underspecified by grammar and that interpretation relies on non-linguistic cues and speakers' intentions, this book argues that meaning is determined entirely by discourse conventions, rules of language that have largely been missed and the effects of which have been mistaken for extra-linguistic effects of an utterance situation on meaning. The linguistic account of context developed here sheds new light on the nature of linguistic content and the interaction between content and context. At the same time, it provides a novel model of context that should constrain and help evaluate debates across many subfields of philosophy where appeal to context has been common, often leading to surprising conclusions such as epistemology, ethics, value theory, metaphysics, metaethics, and logic. (shrink)
The popular interpretation of token‐reflexivism states that at the level of logical form, indexicals and demonstratives are disguised descriptions that employ complex demonstratives or special quotation‐mark names involving particular tokens of the appropriate expression‐types. In this article I first demonstrate that this interpretation of token‐reflexivism is only one of many, and that it is better to think of token‐reflexivism as denoting a family of distinct theoretical frameworks. Second, I contrast two interpretations of the idea of the token‐reflexive paraphrase of an (...) indexical sentence. The utterance approach claims that token‐reflexive paraphrases involve tokens of entire utterances. The sub‐utterance approach maintains that token‐reflexive paraphrases involve tokens of the particular indexical words used in the utterance. Next, I pose a problem that shows that neither of the two approaches is correct. The problem shows that the only viable version of the token‐reflexive proposition must somehow take into account the referential intentions of the speaker of the context. Therefore I conclude the article by sketching the framework of restricted intentional token‐reflexivism. I argue that it is an attractive semantic theory of distributed utterances that, among other things, enables automatic and intentional indexicals to be distinguished. (shrink)
In an earlier defense of the view that the fundamental logical properties of logical truth and logical consequence obtain or fail to obtain only relative to contexts, I focused on a variation of Kaplan’s own modal logic of indexicals. In this paper, I state a semantics and sketch a system of proof for a first-order logic of demonstratives, and sketch proofs of soundness and completeness. (I omit details for readability.) That these results obtain for the first-order logic of demonstratives shows (...) that the significance of demonstratives for logic exceeds their behavior as rigid designators in counterfactual reasoning, or reasoning about alternative possibilities. Furthermore, the results in this paper help address one common objection to the view that logical truth and consequence obtain only relative to contexts. According to this objection, the view entails that logical consequence is not formal. (shrink)
When characterizing the content of a subject’s perceptual experience, does their seeing an object entail that their visual experience represents it as being a certain way? If it does, are they thereby in a position to have perceptually-based thoughts about it? On one hand, representationalists are under pressure to answer these questions in the affirmative. On the other hand, it seems they cannot. This paper presents a puzzle to illustrate this tension within orthodox representationalism. We identify several interesting morals which (...) may be drawn in response, each of which teaches us something interesting and important about perceptual experience and its interface with cognition and related phenomena. (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.
The semantics/pragmatics distinction was once considered central to the philosophy of language, but recently the distinction’s viability and importance have been challenged. In opposition to the growing movement away from the distinction, I argue that we really do need it, and that we can draw the distinction sharply if we draw it in terms of the distinction between non-mental and mental phenomena. On my view, semantic facts arise from context-independent meaning, compositional rules, and non-mental elements of context, whereas pragmatic facts (...) are a matter of speakers’ mental states and hearers’ inferences about them. I argue for this treatment of the distinction by comparing it to some other extant treatments (in terms of “what is said,” and in terms of the involvement of context) and then defending it against several challenges. Two of the challenges relate to possible intrusion of mental phenomena into semantics, and the third has to do with possible over-restriction of the domain of pragmatics. (shrink)
It is commonly supposed that an utterance of a demonstrative, such as “that”, refers to a given object only if the speaker intends to refer to that object. This paper poses three challenges to this theory. First, the theory threatens to beg the question by defining the content of the speaker’s intention in terms of reference. Second, the theory makes psychologically implausible demands on the speaker. Third, the theory entails that there can be no demonstratives in thought.
Intentionalism about demonstratives is the view that the referent of a demonstrative is determined solely by the speaker's intentions. Intentionalists can disagree about the nature of these intentions, but are united in rejecting the relevance of other factors, such as the speaker's gestures, her gaze, and any facts about the addressee or the audience. In this paper, I formulate a particular version of this view, and I defend it against six objections, old and new.
Philosophy, scientific psychology, and common sense all distinguish perception from cognition. While there is little agreement about how the perception–cognition boundary ought to be drawn, one prominent idea is that perceptual states are dependent on a stimulus, or stimulus-dependent, in a way that cognitive states are not. This paper seeks to develop this idea in a way that can accommodate two apparent counterexamples: hallucinations, which are prima facie perceptual yet stimulus-independent; and demonstrative thoughts, which are prima facie cognitive yet stimulus-dependent. (...) The payoff is not only a specific proposal for marking the perception–cognition boundary, but also a deeper understanding of the natures of hallucination and demonstrative thought. (shrink)
According to intentionalism, a demonstrative d refers to an object o only if the speaker intends d to refer to o. Intentionalism is a popular view in metasemantics, but Gauker has recently argued that it is circular. We defend intentionalism against this objection, by showing that Gauker’s argument rests on a misconstrual of the aim of metasemantics. We then introduce two related, but distinct circularity objections: the worry that intentionalism is uninformative, and the problem of intentional bootstrapping, according to which (...) it is impossible to have referential intentions. We also show how intentionalists could respond to these new objections. (shrink)
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)
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)
Demonstratives have different semantic values relative to different contexts of utterance. But it is surprisingly difficult to describe the function from contexts to contents which determines the semantic value of a given use of a demonstrative. It is very natural to think that the intentions of the speaker should play a significant role here. The aim of this paper is to discuss a pair of problems that arise for views which give intentions this central role in explaining the characters of (...) demonstratives. As will emerge, these problems lead quickly to a foundational question about the semantics of demonstratives and many other context-sensitive expressions: the question of whether, in explaining their characters, we need to understand them as sensitive, not just to facts about the psychology of the speaker of the context, but also to facts about the audience of the context. I critically examine Jeffrey King’s theory of demonstratives, which answers this question in the affirmative, and argue that it ultimately collapses into a purely speaker-based view of the character of demonstratives. I then show how to develop a much simpler speaker-based theory which both handles all of the cases handled by King’s theory and avoids some of the more serious problems which King’s theory faces. Towards the end I consider how we might solve the very difficult problems which result from cases in which speakers use demonstratives with conflicting referential intentions. (shrink)
In demonstration, speakers use real-world activity both for its practical effects and to help make their points. The demonstrations of origami mathematics, for example, reconfigure pieces of paper by folding, while simultaneously allowing their author to signal geometric inferences. Demonstration challenges us to explain how practical actions can get such precise significance and how this meaning compares with that of other representations. In this paper, we propose an explanation inspired by David Lewis’s characterizations of coordination and scorekeeping in conversation. In (...) particular, we argue that words, gestures, diagrams and demonstrations can function together as integrated ensembles that contribute to conversation, because interlocutors use them in parallel ways to coordinate updates to the conversational record. (shrink)
This paper argues that the obvious validity of certain inferences involving indirect speech reports as premises and truth or falsity ascriptions as conclusions is incompatible with Davidson's so-called "paratactic" analysis of the logical form of indirect discourse. Besides disqualifying that analysis, this problem is also claimed to indicate that the analysis is doubly in tension with Davidson's metasemantic views. Specifically, it can be reconciled neither with one of Davidson's key assumptions regarding the adequacy of the kind of semantic theory he (...) recommends nor with one of his key assumptions regarding the inadequacy of a kind of semantic theory he rejects. (shrink)
In order to capture our intuitions about the logical consistency of sentences and the logical validity of arguments, a semantics for a natural language has to allow for the fact that different occurrences of a single bare demonstrative, such as “this”, may refer to different objects. But it is not obvious how to formulate a semantic theory in order to achieve this result. This paper first criticizes several proposals: that we should formulate our semantics as a semantics for tokens, not (...) expressions, Kaplan’s idea that syntax associates a demonstration with each occurrence of a demonstrative, Braun’s idea that a context may specify shifts in context across the evaluation of the expressions in a sentence; and Predelli’s idea that we should countenance different classes of contexts. Finally, a solution is proposed that allows that a natural language persists across the addition of basic lexical items but defines logical properties in terms of language stages. A surprising result is that we do not need to think of demonstratives as taking different referents in different situations. (shrink)
This dissertation sets out to answer the question ''What fixes the semantic values of context-sensitive referential terms—like names, demonstratives, and pronouns—in context?'' I argue that it is the speaker's intentions that play this role, as constrained by the conventions governing the use of particular sorts of referential terms. These conventions serve to filter the speaker's intentions for just those which meet these constraints on use, leaving only these filtered-for intentions as semantically relevant. By considering a wide range of cases, including (...) many involving confused and deceptive speakers, I argue that this 'constraint theory' provides a better account of linguistic reference than does any extant alternative, whether intentionalist or non-intentionalist. Along the way, I argue that semantics cannot depend on the reactions of idealized listeners, that speaker meaning is far less clear, and helpful, a notion than it is standardly taken to be, and that speakers needn't aim to be cooperative in order to fix the meaning of their terms in context. (shrink)
Based on the notion of a trope, this paper gives a novel analysis of identificational sentences such as 'this is Mary','this is a beautiful woman', 'this looks like Mary', or 'this is the same lump of clay, but not the same statue as that'.
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)
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)
Phrases like "That man" are called complex demonstrative phrases. They are usually considered to be directly referential in nature. There are many arguments to suggest that such phrases are not directly referential, but are quantificational. This work examines the philosophical debate over the semantic status of complex demonstratives at length, arriving at the conclusion that the quantificational view is right. A new logical form is also suggested for complex demonstratives.
This dissertation is about the meaning of phrases like "That man" or "This bag". These phrases are described as Complex Demonstratives. There is a difference of opinion regarding whether these phrases are directly referential or quantificational. I have weighed the arguments regarding this debate in the dissertation. I have concluded that there are cogent arguments to believe that such phrases are quantificational. However, one cannot retain the insights of the directly referential account inside the quantificational account. That is a creditable (...) move, but the move abandons a crucial property of quantifiers: permutation invariance. Since that is the case, I have suggested that given the evidence at hand, and the examination of the evidence in the dissertation, we may settle for a simpler theory that does not accommodate the intuitions of the direct referentialist. Those intuitions have to be accounted for through the intentions of a speaker when she utters phrases using complex demonstratives. (shrink)
This paper presents a precise semantics for incomplete predicates such as “ready”. Incomplete predicates have distinctive logical properties that a semantic theory needs to accommodate. For instance, “Tipper is ready” logically implies “Tipper is ready for something”, but “Tipper is ready for something” does not imply “Tipper is ready”. It is shown that several approaches to the semantics of incomplete predicates fail to accommodate these logical properties. The account offered here defines contexts as structures containing an element called a proposition (...) set, which contains atomic propositions and negations of atomic propositions. The condition under which “Tipper is ready” is true in a context is defined in terms of the contents of the proposition set for the context. On this account, the content of the context pertinent to a conversation must be determined not by what speakers have in mind but by relations of objective relevance. (shrink)
I-theories of bare demonstratives take the semantic referent of a demonstrative to be determined by an inner state of the utterer. E-theories take the referent to be determined by factors external to the utterer. I argue that, on the Standard view of communication, neither of these theories can be right. Firstly, both are committed to the existence of conventions with superfluous content. Secondly, any claim to the effect that a speaker employs the conventions associated with these theories cannot have any (...) content, i.e. nothing can count as following these conventions. Bare demonstratives may well not be devices of semantic reference at all, i.e. may not actually contribute a referent to the proposition semantically expressed by an utterance. (shrink)
Attention has been studied in cognitive psychology for more than half a century, but until recently it was largely neglected in philosophy. Now, however, attention has been recognized by philosophers of mind as having an important role to play in our theories of consciousness and of cognition. At the same time, several recent developments in psychology have led psychologists to foundational questions about the nature of attention and its implementation in the brain. As a result there has been a convergence (...) of interest in fundamental questions about attention. This volume presents the latest thinking from the philosophers and psychologists who are working at the interface between these two disciplines. Its fourteen chapters contain detailed philosophical and scientific arguments about the nature and mechanisms of attention; the relationship between attention and consciousness; the role of attention in explaining reference, rational thought, and the control of action; the fundamental metaphysical status of attention, and the details of its implementation in the brain. These contributions combine ideas from phenomenology, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and philosophy of mind to further our understanding of this centrally important mental phenomenon, and to bring to light the foundational questions that any satisfactory theory of attention will need to address. (from OUP website). (shrink)
Philosophers who accept tropes generally agree that tropes act as the objects of reference of nominalizations of adjectives, such as 'Socrates’ wisdom' or 'the beauty of the landscape'. This paper argues that tropes play a further important role in the semantics of natural language, namely in the semantics of bare demonstratives like 'this' and 'that' in what in linguistics is called identificational sentences.
In this paper I propose a model of demonstrative thought. I distinguish token-demonstratives, that pick out individuals, from type-demonstratives, that pick out kinds, or properties, and provide a similar treatment for both. I argue that it follows from my model of demonstrative thought, as well as from independent considerations, that demonstration, as a mental act, operates directly on mental representations, not external objects. That is, though the relation between a demonstrative and the object or property demonstrated is semantically direct, the (...) mechanism by which a demonstrative acquires its referent involves mediation by a perceptual representation. Finally, I argue that so-called 'demonstrative concepts'—which I treat as type-demonstratives—cannot perform the various philosophical functions that have been assigned to them. (shrink)
Demonstrative noun phrases (e.g., that guy , this ) are of interest to philosophers of language and semanticists because they are sensitive to demonstrations or speaker intentions. The interpretation of a demonstrative therefore sheds light on the role of the context in natural language semantics. This survey reviews two types of approaches to demonstratives: Kaplan's direct reference treatment of demonstratives and other indexicals, and recent challenges to Kaplan's approach that focus on less obviously context-sensitive uses of demonstratives. The survey then (...) covers selected research on demonstratives in linguistics. This research offers new empirical puzzles and contrasting theoretical approaches to demonstratives. (shrink)
My aim in this paper is to critically evaluate John Campbell's (2002) characterization of the sense of demonstrative terms and his account of why an object's location matters in our understanding of perceptually-based demonstrative terms. Campbell thinks that the senses of a demonstrative term are the different ways of consciously attending to an object. I will evaluate Campbell's account of sense by exploring and comparing two scenarios in which the actual location of a seen object is different from its perceived (...) location. I do this in order to motivate the following point: Campbell's characterization of the sense of a demonstrative term turns sense into a psychologistic notion. As a consequence of this, it is difficult to see how sense could underwrite reference. In short, I shall be arguing that Campbell's account of the ways of perceiving an object is simply inadequate as an account of the Fregean notion of sense, according to which the senses of a demonstrative term are the different ways of thinking about an object. (shrink)
The proposition expressed by a sentence is relative to a context. But what determines the content of the context? Many theorists would include among these determinants aspects of the speaker’s intention in speaking. My thesis is that, on the contrary, the determinants of the context never include the speaker’s intention. My argument for this thesis turns on a consideration of the role that the concept of proposition expressed in context is supposed to play in a theory of linguistic communication. To (...) illustrate an alternative approach, I present an original theory of the reference of demonstratives according to which the referent of a demonstrative is the object that adequately and best satisfies certain accessibility criteria. Although I call my thesis zero tolerance for pragmatics, it is not an expression of intolerance for everything that might be called “pragmatics.”. (shrink)
This essay proposes a systematic semantic account of Davidson’s demonstrative theory of pure quotation (Davidson Theory and decision, 11: 27–40, 1979) within a classic Kaplan-style framework for indexical languages (Kaplan 1977). I argue that Davidson’s informal hints must be developed in terms of the idea of ‘character-external’ aspects of meaning, that is, in terms of truth-conditionally idle restrictions on the class of contexts in which quotation marks may appropriately be used. When thus developed, Davidson’s theory may correctly take into account (...) the intuitively special status of disquotational sentences, such as “Boston’ refers to Boston’, and “‘Boston” refers to ‘Boston”, and is thus immune from the important objections recently raised in Cappelen and Lepore 2007. (shrink)
Does the English demonstrative pronoun 'that' (including complex demonstratives of the form 'that F') have sense and reference? Unlike many other philosophers of language, Frege answers with a resounding 'No'. He held that the bearer of sense and reference is a so-called 'hybrid proper name' (Künne) that contains the demonstrative pronoun and specific circumstances of utterance such as glances and acts of pointing. In this paper I provide arguments for the thesis that demonstratives are hybrid proper names. After outlining why (...) Frege held the hybrid proper name view, I will defend it against recent criticism, and argue that it is superior to views that take demonstrative pronouns to be the bearer of semantic properties. (shrink)
Names, descriptions, and demonstratives raise well-known logical, ontological, and epistemological problems. Perhaps less well known, amongst philosophers at least, are the ways in which some of these problems not only recur with pronouns but also cross-cut further problems exposed by the study in generative linguistics of morpho-syntactic constraints on interpretation. These problems will be my primary concern here, but I want to address them within a general picture of interpretation that is required if wires are not to be crossed. That (...) picture will be sketched in sections 3 and 4; subsequent sections will focus on pronouns and binding, drawing heavily on what has preceded. (shrink)
Thanks to David Kaplan (1989a, 1989b), we all know how to handle indexicals like ‘I’. ‘I’ doesn’t refer to an object simpliciter; rather, it refers to an object only relative to a context. In particular, relative to a context C, ‘I’ refers to the agent of C. Since different contexts can have different agents, ‘I’ can refer to different objects relative to different contexts. For example, relative to a context cwhose agent is Gottlob Frege, ‘I’ refers to Frege; relative to (...) a context 0* whose agent is Alexius.. (shrink)