Why Bare Demonstratives Need Not Semantically Refer

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 42 (1):43-66 (2012)
J. P. Smit
University of Stellenbosch
I-theories of bare demonstratives take the semantic referent of a demonstrative to be determined by an inner state of the utterer. E-theories take the referent to be determined by factors external to the utterer. I argue that, on the Standard view of communication, neither of these theories can be right. Firstly, both are committed to the existence of conventions with superfluous content. Secondly, any claim to the effect that a speaker employs the conventions associated with these theories cannot have any content, i.e. nothing can count as following these conventions. Bare demonstratives may well not be devices of semantic reference at all, i.e. may not actually contribute a referent to the proposition semantically expressed by an utterance.
Keywords Indexicals and Demonstratives  Reference
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DOI 10.1353/cjp.2012.0000
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Demonstratives.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
Who Is I.Eros Corazza, William Fish & Jonathan Gorvett - 2002 - Philosophical Studies 107 (1):1-21.
I Am Not Here Now.Stefano Predelli - 1998 - Analysis 58 (2):107–115.
Zero Tolerance for Pragmatics.Christopher Gauker - 2008 - Synthese 165 (3):359–371.

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