In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2012)

Authors
David Braun
University at Buffalo
Abstract
Indexicals are linguistic expressions whose reference shifts from context to context: some paradigm examples are ‘I’, ‘here’, ‘now’, ‘today’,‘he’, ‘she’, and ‘that’. Two speakers who utter a single sentence that contains an indexical may say different things. For instance, Fred and Wilma say different things when they utter the sentence ‘I am female’. Many philosophers (following David Kaplan 1989a) hold that indexicals have two sorts of meaning. The first sort of meaning is often called ‘character’ or ‘linguistic meaning’; the second sort is often called ‘content’. Using this terminology, we can say that the word ‘I’ has a single character (or linguistic meaning), but has different contents in different contexts.
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