Philosophical Studies 164 (1):263-288 (2013)

Edison Barrios
University of Utah
In this paper I defend the “Standard View” of the semantics of ‘I’—according to which ‘I’ is a pure, automatic indexical—from a challenge posed by “deferred reference” cases, in which occurrences of ‘I’ are (allegedly) not speaker-referential, and thus non-automatic. In reply, I offer an alternative account of the cases in question, which I call the “Description Analysis” (DA). According to DA, seemingly deferred-referential occurrences of the first person pronoun are interpreted as constituents of a definite description, whose operator scopes over an open sentence Rxy—where R is a contextually selected relation ranging over pairs of people and objects. The role of intentions is thus limited to the determination of R, which is posterior to the fixation of the reference of ‘I’. In support of the DA I present evidence that, in the cases in question, the (Determiner) phrase containing ‘I’ behaves in relevant ways like a description. I show that the DA can account for the problematic examples, while preserving the simplicity of the standard semantics of ‘I’. Finally, I examine a rival account of the data, offered by Nunberg (Linguist Philos 16:1–43, 1993), and argue for the superiority of the DA
Keywords Pure indexicals  Deferred reference  Definite descriptions  Semantics  Pragmatics
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-0002-9
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References found in this work BETA

Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and Other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
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Citations of this work BETA

Deferred Reference of Proper Names.Katarzyna Kijania-Placek & Paweł Banaś - 2021 - Journal of Semantics 38 (2):195-219.
Meaning Transfer Revisited.David Liebesman & Ofra Magidor - 2018 - Philosophical Perspectives 32 (1):254-297.

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