Reference and Indexicality

Dissertation, Roskilde University (2006)
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Abstract

Reference and indexicality are two central topics in the Philosophy of Language that are closely tied together. In the first part of this book, a description theory of reference is developed and contrasted with the prevailing direct reference view with the goal of laying out their advantages and disadvantages. The author defends his version of indirect reference against well-known objections raised by Kripke in Naming and Necessity and his successors, and also addresses linguistic aspects like compositionality. In the second part, a detailed survey on indexical expressions is given based on a variety of typological data. Topics addressed are, among others: Kaplan's logic of demonstratives, conversational versus utterance context, context-shifting indexicals, the deictic center, token-reflexivity, vagueness of spatial and temporal indexicals, reference rules, and the epistemic and cognitive role of indexicals. From a descriptivist perspective on reference, various examples of simple and complex indexicals are analyzed in first-order predicate logic with reified contexts. A critical discussion of essential indexicality, de se readings of attitudes and accompanying puzzles rounds up the investigation.

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Erich Rast
New University of Lisbon

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