Quaderni di Semantica:137-157 (2018)

Carlo Penco
University of Genoa
In this paper we give some suggestions from etymology on the contrast between Kaplan’s direct reference theory and a neo-Fregean view on indexicals. After a short summary of the philosophical debate on indexicals (§1), we use some remarks about the hidden presence of a demonstrative root in all indexicals to derive some provisional doubts concerning Kaplan’s criticism of what he calls “sloppy thinker” (§2). To support those doubts, we will summarise some etymological data on the derivation of the so-called “pure indexicals” from an original demonstrative root (§ 3). The aim of the paper is to consider etymological data as providing evidence for alternative theories of language and fostering new directions in linguistic and philosophical research on specific topics.
Keywords Indexicals  Demonstratives  Etymology  David Kaplan
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