Two Problems of Overgeneration for the Reflexive-Referential Theory

Isidora Stojanovic
Institut Jean Nicod
One of the most promising aspects of Perry 's Reflexive-Referential Theory is its capacity to generate a variety of contents that may be associated with a single utterance, contents that may be used for various explanatory purposes. My concern in this paper is that, as it stands, RRT generates too many contents. The problem is not just that most of those contents will be explanatorily idle, but rather, that nothing in the actual RRT explains why those contents cannot play the roles that their minimally different “neighbors” can play. In Section 1, I discuss two kinds of example that motivate RRT and its multiplicity of contents; the first comes close enough to some of Perry's own examples, but the second is original, and may be therefore viewed as an application of RRT to a problem that has not been discussed by Perry himself. In Section 2, I will show how these examples give rise, in turn, to problems of overgeneration. In other words, just as RRT is able to derive contents that may be used to account for the cases that need explanation, it ought to be able to derive analogous contents that, in turn, give counterintuitive, if not outright wrong predictions. In Section 3, I will tentatively outline a line of response that Perry could take. The overall direction of the paper is thus optimistic, since the problems raised may be viewed as pointing to ways of improving RRT, rather than undermining it.
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References found in this work BETA

Situations and Attitudes.Jon Barwise & John Perry - 1981 - Journal of Philosophy 78 (11):668-691.
Frege on Demonstratives.John Perry - 1977 - Philosophical Review 86 (4):474-497.
Situations and Attitudes.Nino B. Cocchiarella - 1983 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 51 (2):470.
Situations and Attitudes.Jerry Butterfield - 1986 - Philosophical Quarterly 36 (143):292-296.
Three Demonstrations and a Funeral.Kepa Korta & John Perry - 2006 - Mind and Language 21 (2):166–186.

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