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  1. Deceiving without answering.Peter van Elswyk - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 177 (5):1157-1173.
    Lying is standardly distinguished from misleading according to how a disbelieved proposition is conveyed. To lie, a speaker uses a sentence to say a proposition she does not believe. A speaker merely misleads by using a sentence to somehow convey but not say a disbelieved proposition. Front-and-center to the lying/misleading distinction is a conception of what-is-said by a sentence in a context. Stokke (2016, 2018) has recently argued that the standard account of lying/misleading is explanatorily inadequate unless paired with a (...)
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  • Toward a sharp semantics/pragmatics distinction.Megan Henricks Stotts - 2020 - Synthese 197 (1):185–208.
    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 (...)
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  • Pointing things out: in defense of attention and coherence.Una Stojnić, Matthew Stone & Ernie Lepore - 2020 - Linguistics and Philosophy 43 (2):139-148.
    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.
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  • Content in a Dynamic Context.Una Stojnić - 2017 - Noûs 53 (2):394-432.
    The standing tradition in theorizing about meaning, since at least Frege, identifies meaning with propositions, which are, or determine, the truth-conditions of a sentence in a context. But a recent trend has advocated a departure from this tradition: in particular, it has been argued that modal claims do not express standard propositional contents. This non-propositionalism has received different implementations in expressivist semantics and certain kinds of dynamic semantics. They maintain that the key aspect of interpretation of modal claims is the (...)
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  • Speaker’s Intentions, Ambiguous Demonstrations, and Relativist Semantics for Demonstratives.Jakub Rudnicki - 2022 - Philosophia 50 (4):2085-2111.
    In this paper, I do four things. First, I argue that Recanati’s recent argument for intentionalist semantics for demonstratives is erroneous. I do this partly by suggesting that demonstrations should be treated as features of Kaplanian context. Second, I explain why the classic ambiguity objection against conventionalist positions regarding demonstratives is not in any way less problematic for intentionalism. Third, I propose a novel semantic framework for demonstratives that is able to simultaneously explain the appeal of some prominent conventionalist and (...)
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  • Semantic conventions and referential intentions.Jakub Rudnicki - 2023 - Synthese 202 (1):1-16.
    According to intentionalism, the semantic reference of the uses of demonstratives is fixed, at least partly, by the speaker’s referential intention. In this paper, I argue against the possibility of the existence of a semantic convention of this sort. My argument is placed in the Lewisian framework of signaling games and consists of several steps that correspond to four anti-intentionalist arguments, already present in the literature, that have proven inconclusive when employed separately and without being set in the mentioned framework.
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  • No context, no content, no problem.Ethan Nowak - 2020 - Mind and Language 36 (2):189-220.
    Recently, philosophers have offered compelling reasons to think that demonstratives are best represented as variables, sensitive not to the context of utterance, but to a variable assignment. Variablists typically explain familiar intuitions about demonstratives—intuitions that suggest that what is said by way of a demonstrative sentence varies systematically over contexts—by claiming that contexts initialize a particular assignment of values to variables. I argue that we do not need to link context and the assignment parameter in this way, and that we (...)
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  • Discourse and method.Ethan Nowak & Eliot Michaelson - 2020 - Linguistics and Philosophy 43 (2):119-138.
    Stojnić et al. (2013, 2017) argue that the reference of demonstratives is fixed without any contribution from the extra-linguistic context. On their `prominence/coherence' theory, the reference of a demonstrative expression depends only on its context-independent linguistic meaning. Here, we argue that Stojnić et al.’s striking claims can be maintained in only the thinnest technical sense. Instead of eliminating appeals to the extra-linguistic context, we show how the prominence/coherence theory merely suppresses them. Then we ask why one might be tempted to (...)
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  • We talk to people, not contexts.Daniel W. Harris - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (9):2713-2733.
    According to a popular family of theories, assertions and other communicative acts should be understood as attempts to change the context of a conversation. Contexts, on this view, are publicly shared bodies of information that evolve over the course of a conversation and that play a range of semantic and pragmatic roles. I argue that this view is mistaken: performing a communicative act requires aiming to change the mind of one’s addressee, but not necessarily the context. Although changing the context (...)
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  • Semantics without semantic content.Daniel W. Harris - 2020 - Mind and Language 37 (3):304-328.
    I argue that semantics is the study of the proprietary database of a centrally inaccessible and informationally encapsulated input–output system. This system’s role is to encode and decode partial and defeasible evidence of what speakers are saying. Since information about nonlinguistic context is therefore outside the purview of semantic processing, a sentence’s semantic value is not its content but a partial and defeasible constraint on what it can be used to say. I show how to translate this thesis into a (...)
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  • Demonstratives, context-sensitivity, and coherence.Michael Devitt - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy:1-23.
    Una Stojnić urges the radical view that the meaning of context-sensitive language is not “partially determined by non-linguistic features of utterance situation”, as traditionally thought, but rather “is determined entirely by grammar—by rules of language that have largely been missed”. The missed rules are ones of discourse coherence. The paper argues against this radical view as it applies to demonstrations, demonstratives, and the indexical ‘I’. Stojnić’s theories of demon-strations and demonstratives are found to be seriously incomplete, failing to meet the (...)
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  • Pointing to communicate: the discourse function and semantics of rich demonstration.Christian De Leon - 2023 - Linguistics and Philosophy 46 (4):839-870.
    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 (...)
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  • Utterances, Sub‐utterances and Token‐Reflexivity.Tadeusz Ciecierski - 2020 - Theoria 86 (4):439-462.
    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 (...)
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  • The complex lives of proper names.Eno Agolli - 2023 - Linguistics and Philosophy 46 (6):1393-1439.
    I argue that predicativism, the view that proper names are predicates, is a viable theory of the semantics of proper names given a certain hypothesis about the grammar of definiteness. Extant versions of predicativism hold that a singular name in argument position constitutes the predicative component of a covert definite description. I show that these versions cannot accommodate semantic and typological data, specifically: syntactic and semantic disparities between bare and non-bare occurrences of such names in English, the distinctive modal rigidity (...)
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  • Framing Effects and Context in Language Comprehension.Sarah Fisher - 2020 - Dissertation, University of Reading
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