This collection deals with various problems related to "self-locating beliefs": the sorts of beliefs one expresses with indexicals and demonstratives, like "I" and "this." He includes such well-known essays as "Frege on Demonstratives," "The Problem of the Essential Indexical," and "The Prince and the Phone Booth.".
This book investigates the subjective and objective representations of the world, developing analogies between secondary qualities and indexical thoughts and arguing that subjective representations are ineliminable. Throughout, McGinn brings together historical and contemporary discussions to illuminate old problems in a novel way.
It is commonly held that retraction data, if we accept them, show that assessment relativism is to be preferred over non-indexical relativism (a.k.a. non-indexical contextualism). I will argue that this is not the case. Whether retraction data have the suggested probative force depends on substantive questions about the proper treatment of tense and location. One’s preferred account in these domains should determine which form of relativism one prefers.
A widely accepted view in the discussion of personal identity is that the notion of psychological continuity expresses a one--many or many--one relation. This belief is unfounded. A notion of psychological continuity expresses a one--many or many--one relation only if it includes, as a constituent, psychological properties whose relation with their bearers is one--many or many--one; but the relation between an indexical psychological state and its bearer when first tokened is not a one--many or many--one relation. It follows that (...) not all types of psychological continuity may take a one--many or many--one form. This conclusion casts doubt on the Lockean approach to the issue, by showing that the notion of psychological continuity Lockeans rely on may not be available. (shrink)
Terence Horgan defends the thirder position on the Sleeping Beauty problem, claiming that Beauty can, upon awakening during the experiment, engage in “synchronic Bayesian updating” on her knowledge that she is awake now in order to justify a 1/3 credence in heads. In a previous paper, I objected that epistemic probabilities are equivalent to rational degrees of belief given a possible epistemic situation and so the probability of Beauty’s indexical knowledge that she is awake now is necessarily 1, precluding (...) such updating. In response, Horgan maintains that the probability claims in his argument are to be taken, not as claims about possible rational degrees of belief, but rather as claims about “quantitative degrees of evidential support.” This paper argues that the most plausible account of quantitative degree of support, when conjoined with any of the three major accounts of indexical thought in such a way as to plausibly constrain rational credence, contradicts essential elements of Horgan’s argument. (shrink)
My aim in this essay is to look back on and critically examine Tomis Kapitan’s (1949–2016) views of indexical language and indexical thought. Despite the novelty and insightfulness of Kapitan’s writings on these topics, his work has largely gone ignored. I believe this to be a tragic oversight, especially given the renewed interest in whether any of our thoughts might be essentially indexical. To be sure, there may be a reason for this oversight. In particular, Kapitan’s views (...) are complex and his writing often dense. So my hope is to do justice to his work on indexicality not only by making it more accessible but also by examining it in such a way as to demonstrate its strength and plausibility. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue, contra Perry, that the existence of locating beliefs does not require the abandonment of the analysis of belief as a relation between subjects and propositions. I argue that what the "problem of the essential indexical" reveals is that a complete explanation of behaviour requires both an explanation of the type of behaviour the agent engaged in and an explanation of why she engaged in it in the circumstances that she did. And I develop an (...) account of belief which encompasses both explanatory roles and which still treats belief as a two-place relation between subjects and propositions. (shrink)
On the basis of an experimental investigation of the construals of present under past in child French, we argue that French children, just like Japanese adult speakers, but unlike French adult speakers, allow pure simultaneous construals of present under past, where the present denotes an interval that lies completely in the past, be it in relative or complement clauses. We conclude that French children have two presents: an indexical present and a zero present (just like Japanese adults, cf. Ogihara (...) 1999, 2008), suggesting that French children have both the Japanese and the French setting for the Sequence of Tense parameter since they allow simultaneous construals of both present and past under past. This multiple grammar approach to tense interpretation in child French extends to child Japanese in so far as Japanese children have been argued to allow simultaneous readings of past under past, although this reading is unavailable in the target grammar (Matsuo & Hollebrandse 1999). (shrink)
Intellectualism is the doctrine that knowing how to do something consists in knowing that something is the case. Drawing on contemporary linguistic theories of indirect questions, Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson have recently revived intellectualism, proposing to interpret a sentence of the form ‘s knows how to F’ as ascribing to s knowledge of a certain way w of Fing that she can F in w. In order to preserve knowledgehow’s connection to action and thus avoid an overgeneration problem, they (...) add that this knowledge must be had under a “practical” mode of presentation of w. I argue that (i) there can be non-knowledgeable true beliefs under a practical mode of presentation and that (ii) some such beliefs would nevertheless be sufficient to establish knowledge-how’s characteristic connection to action, and thus count as knowledge-how. If so, Stanley & Williamson’s account is faced with a serious undergeneration problem. Moreover, the structural features on which the argument relies make it likely to present a quite general challenge for intellectualist strategies. (shrink)
If the autopoiesis concept has been of enormous benefit for the description of the society and in particular for the radical revolution of the theory of social systems in the work of Luhmann, with the phenomenon of the indexicality developed by Garfinkel it seems to have happened exactly the opposi..
A collection of twelve essays by John Perry and two essays he co-authored, this book deals with various problems related to "self-locating beliefs": the sorts of beliefs one expresses with indexicals and demonstratives, like "I" and "this." Postscripts have been added to a number of the essays discussing criticisms by authors such as Gareth Evans and Robert Stalnaker. Included with such well-known essays as "Frege on Demonstratives," "The Problem of the Essential Indexical," "From Worlds to Situations," and "The Prince (...) and the Phone Booth" are a number of important essays that have been less accessible and that discuss important aspects of Perry's views, referred to as "Critical Referentialism," on the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
Recent empirical work on folk moral objectivism has attempted to examine the extent to which folk morality presumes that moral judgments are objectively true or false. Some researchers report findings that they take to indicate folk commitment to objectivism (Nichols & Folds-Bennett, 2003; Wainryb et al., 2004; Goodwin & Darley, 2008, 2010, 2012), while others report findings that may reveal a more variable commitment to objectivism (Sarkissian, et al., 2011; Wright, Grandjean, & McWhite, 2013; Wright, McWhite, & Grandjean, 2014; Beebe, (...) 2014; Beebe et al., 2015; Beebe & Sackris, 2016; Wright, 2018). However, the various probes that have been used to examine folk moral objectivism almost always fail to be good direct measures of objectivism. Some critics (Beebe, 2015; Pölzler, 2017, 2018) have suggested that the problems with existing probes are serious enough that they should be viewed as largely incapable of shedding any light on folk metaethical commitments. Building upon the work of Justin Khoo and Joshua Knobe (2018), I argue that many of the existing probes can be seen as good measures of the extent to which people think that the truth of one moral judgment excludes the possibility that a judgment made by a disagreeing party is also true and that the best explanation of the findings obtained using these measures is significant folk support for indexical moral relativism—the view that the content of moral judgments is context-sensitive. If my thesis is correct, most contemporary moral philosophers are deeply mistaken about the metaethical contours of folk morality in one very important respect. (shrink)
Cappelen and Dever present a forceful challenge to the standard view that perspective, and in particular the perspective of the first person, is a philosophically deep aspect of the world. Their goal is not to show that we need to explain indexical and other perspectival phenomena in different ways, but to show that the entire topic is an illusion.
In this paper I argue against one variety of contextualism about aesthetic predicates such as “beautiful.” Contextualist analyses of these and other predicates have been subject to several challenges surrounding disagreement. Focusing on one kind of contextualism— individualized indexical contextualism —I unpack these various challenges and consider the responses available to the contextualist. The three responses I consider are as follows: giving an alternative analysis of the concept of disagreement ; claiming that speakers suffer from semantic blindness; and claiming (...) that attributions of beauty carry presuppositions of commonality. I will argue that none of the available strategies gives a response which both satisfactorily explains all of the disagreement -data and is plausible independent of significant evidence in favor of contextualism. I conclude that individualized indexical contextualism about the aesthetic is untenable, although this does not rule out alternative contextualist approaches to the aesthetic. (shrink)
E. J. Lowe sets out in a recent paper1 to refute McTaggart's proof of the unreality of time, by exposing an ‘indexical fallacy’ in his disproof of the existence of tensed (i. e., A-series) facts.2 Lowe then develops an original account of what makes time the dimension of change, based on his own account of tensed facts. But in our opinion he fails on both counts: (1) he fails to refute McTaggart's perfectly sound disproof of tensed facts, which shows (...) that time can be real only if (Lowe and McTaggart not withstanding) it needs no tensed facts, and (2) he fails to explain the temporal character of change, since his account of it has an exact spatial analogue. In what follows we argue these two points in turn. (shrink)
The main purpose of this paper is to characterize and compare two forms any relativist thesis can take: indexical relativism and genuine relativism. Indexical relativists claim that the implicit indexicality of certain sentences is the only source of relativity. Genuine relativists, by contrast, claim that there is relativity not just at the level of sentences, but also at propositional level. After characterizing each of the two forms and discussing their difficulties, I argue that the difference between the two (...) is significant. (shrink)
We discuss the challenge to truth-conditional semantics presented by apparent shifts in extension of predicates such as ‘red’. We propose an explicit indexical semantics for ‘red’ and argue that our account is preferable to the alternatives on conceptual and empirical grounds.
I set out and defend a view on indicative conditionals that I call “indexical relativism ”. The core of the view is that which proposition is expressed by an utterance of a conditional is a function of the speaker’s context and the assessor’s context. This implies a kind of relativism, namely that a single utterance may be correctly assessed as true by one assessor and false by another.
This chapter defends a version of the indexical contextualist form of moderate relativism: the attempt to endorse appearances of faultless disagreement within the framework in which a sentence at a context at the index of the context determines its appropriate truth-value. Many object that any such an indexical proposal would fail to account for intuitions of (genuine) disagreement as revealed in ordinary disputes in the domain. The defence from this objection exploits presuppositions of commonality to the effect that (...) the addressee is relevantly like the speaker of the context. (shrink)
In this essay I will defend a novel version of the indexical view on proper names. According to this version, proper names have a relatively sparse truth-conditional meaning that is represented by their rigid content and indexical character, but a relatively rich use-conditional meaning, which I call the (contextual) constraint of a proper name. Firstly, I will provide a brief outline of my favoured indexical view on names in contrast to other indexical views proposed in the (...) relevant literature. Secondly, two general motivations for an indexical view on names will be introduced and defended. Thirdly, I will criticize the two most popular versions of the indexical view on names: formal variable accounts and salience-based formal constant accounts. In the fourth and final section, I will develop my own use-conditional indexical view on names in three different steps by confronting an initial version of this view with three different challenges. (shrink)
It was the explicit aim of my paper ‘Indexical Relativism versus Genuine Relativism’ to ‘characterize and compare’ (p. 297) two different forms of relativism. One form, exemplified by Harman’s and Dreier’s moral relativism (Harman, 1975 and Dreier, 1990), involves the claim that certain sentences express different propositions in different contexts of utterance, much like indexical sentences – hence the name ‘indexical relativism’. The other form involves the claim that the truth-value of certain contents or propositions depends on (...) certain non-standard parameters, i.e. depends not just on a possible world. The explicit conclusion of the paper was that the two forms differ significantly. Dan López de Sa (2007) seems quite happy to grant my main conclusion, namely that there is a significant difference between these two forms of relativism. However, López de Sa raises two worthwhile issues. First, he proposes a taxonomy of relativist views, one on which my ‘genuine relativism’ turns out to be the disjunction of two distinct views. Secondly, he offers an answer to a difficulty I raised for some forms of indexical relativism. I shall comment on each point. (shrink)
One can have no prior credence whatsoever (not even zero) in a temporally indexical claim. This fact saves the principle of conditionalization from potential counterexample and undermines the Elga and Arntzenius/Dorr arguments for the thirder position and Lewis' argument for the halfer position on the Sleeping Beauty Problem, thereby supporting the double-halfer position. -/- .
According to the communication desideratum (CD), a notion of semantic content must be adequately related to communication. In the recent debate on indexical reference, (CD) has been invoked in arguments against the view that intentions determine the semantic content of indexicals and demonstratives (intentionalism). In this paper, I argue that the interpretations of (CD) that these arguments rely on are questionable, and suggest an alternative interpretation, which is compatible with (strong) intentionalism. Moreover, I suggest an approach that combines elements (...) of intentionalism with other subjectivist approaches, and discuss the role of intuitions in developing and evaluating theories of indexical reference. (shrink)
Indexicals are unique among expressions in that they depend for their literal content upon extra-semantic features of the contexts in which they are uttered. Taking this peculiarity of indexicals into account yields solutions to variants of Frege's Puzzle involving objects of attitude-bearing of an indexical nature. If names are indexicals, then the classical versions of Frege's Puzzle can be solved in the same way. Taking names to be indexicals also yields solutions to tougher, more recently-discovered puzzles such as Kripke's (...) well-known case involving Paderewski. We argue that names are in fact rigidly designating indexicals. We also argue that fully developed, the direct reference theory's best strategy for solving the puzzles amounts to the adoption of the indexical theory of names – a move that we argue should be thought of as a natural development of the direct reference theory, and not as antagonistic to it. (shrink)
Although the index is one of the best known features of Peirce's theory of signs there is little appreciation of Peirce's theory of the index amongst contemporary philosophers of language. Amongst Peirce scholars, the value placed on Peirce's account is greater, but is largely based on Thomas Goudge's paper, "Peirce's Index" (Goudge, 1965). Despite marking a crucial milestone in our comprehension of Peirce's theory, our understanding of indices and indexical reference has grown markedly over the last forty years. Time (...) has now come, then, to develop the work that Goudge began and to provide a full analysis of Peirce's account that makes its value to the philosophy of language clear. I undertake this enterprise here. (shrink)
Stewart Cohen’s New Evil Demon argument raises familiar and widely discussed concerns for reliabilist accounts of epistemic justification. A now standard response to this argument, initiated by Alvin Goldman and Ernest Sosa, involves distinguishing different notions of justification. Juan Comesaña has recently and prominently claimed that his Indexical Reliabilism (IR) offers a novel solution in this tradition. We argue, however, that Comesaña’s proposal suffers serious difficulties from the perspective of the philosophy of language. More specifically, we show that the (...) two readings of sentences involving the word ‘justified’ which are required for Comesaña’s solution to the problem are not recoverable within the two-dimensional framework of Robert Stalnaker to which he appeals. We then consider, and reject, an attempt to overcome this difficulty by appeal to a complication of the theory involving counterfactuals, and conclude the paper by sketching our own preferred solution to Cohen’s New Evil Demon. (shrink)
David Lewis, Stewart Cohen, and Keith DeRose have proposed that sentences of the form S knows P are indexical, and therefore differ in truth value from one context to another.1 On their indexical contextualism, the truth value of S knows P is determined by whether S meets the epistemic standards of the speakers context. I will not be concerned with relational forms of contextualism, according to which the truth value of S knows P is determined by the standards (...) of the subject Ss context, regardless of the standards applying to the speaker making the knowledge claim. Relational contextualism is a form of normative relativism. Indexical contextualism is a semantic theory. When the subject is the speaker, as when S is the first person pronoun I, the two forms of contextualism coincide. But otherwise, they diverge. I critically examine the principal arguments for indexicalism, detail linguistic evidence against it, and suggest a pragmatic alternative. (shrink)
In the debate over what determines the reference of an indexical expression on a given occasion of use, we can distinguish between two generic positions. According to the first, the reference is determined by internal factors, such as the speaker’s intentions. According to the second, the reference is determined by external factors, like conventions or what a competent and attentive audience would take the reference to be. It has recently been argued that the first position is untenable, since there (...) are cases of mismatch where the intuitively correct reference differs from the one that would be determined by the relevant internal factors. The aim of this paper is to show that, contrary to this line of argument, it is the proponent of the second position that should be worried, since this position yields counterintuitive consequences regarding communicative success in cases of mismatch. (shrink)
In this paper, I assess whether indexical attitudes, e.g. beliefs and desires, have any special properties or present any special challenge to theories of propositional attitudes. I being by investigating the claim that allegedly problematic indexical cases are just instances of the familiar phenomenon of referential opacity. Regardless of endorsing that claim, I provide an argument to the effect that indexical attitudes do have a special property. My argument relies on the fact that one cannot account for (...) what is it to share someone else’s indexical attitudes without rejecting some plausible thesis about propositional attitudes. In the end, I assess Herman Cappelen and Josh Dever’s considerations on intentional action and extract an argument from them that could – if successful – neutralize my own. I finish by arguing that their argument has an important flaw, thus failing to convince us that indexical attitudes are just as ordinary as any other. (shrink)
Call a thought whose expression involves the utterance of an indexical an indexical thought. Thus, my thoughts that I’m annoyed, that now is not the right time, that this is not acceptable, are all indexical thoughts. Such thoughts present a prima facie problem for the thesis that thought contents are phenomenally individuated -- i.e., that each distinct thought type has a proprietarily cognitive phenomenology such that its having that phenomenology makes it the thought that it is -- (...) given the assumption that phenomenology is intrinsically determined. My concern in this paper is to blunt standard intuitions concerning the external individuation of indexical thought contents, and to defend a conception of indexical thought content that is entirely phenomenal and internalist. (shrink)
Francois Recanati presents the basic features of the *indexical model* of mental files, and defends it against several interrelated objections. According to this model, mental files refer to objects in a way that is analogous to that of indexicals in language: a file refers to an object in virtue of a contextual relation between them. For instance, perception and attention provide the basis for demonstrative files. Several objections, some of them from David Papineau, concern the possibility of files to (...) preserve and add information about objects across contexts. How is it possible to think about the same object when the subject no longer is in the original context? How is it possible to think of a perceived object as already known? Can this be done without an explicit identity judgment? Recanati answers these questions by invoking mental files of non-basic kinds and by describing the cognitive dynamics in which they take part. (shrink)
David Lewis's best-system analysis of laws of nature is perhaps the best known sophisticated regularity theory of laws. Its strengths are widely recognized, even by some of its ablest critics. Yet it suffers from what appears to be a glaring weakness: It seems to grant an arbitrary privilege to the standards of our own scientific culture. I argue that by reformulating, or reinterpreting, Lewis's exposition of the best-system analysis, we arrive at a view that is free of this weakness. The (...) resulting theory of laws has the surprising consequence that the term "law of nature" is indexical. (shrink)
This paper argues for a moderate form of essentialism about indexical thought. According to this moderate essentialism, there is a significant category of intentional action that necessarily involves indexical thought. This category of action is navigation, that is, intentionally moving from one location to another by using public information about the world such as a map or a set of directions. It is shown that anti-essentialists face a challenge in accounting for this kind of action without accepting the (...) involvement of indexical thought or something equivalent. The conclusion that navigation necessarily requires indexical thought is neutral on the strong essentialist claim that there is a special class of indexical propositional attitudes that mandate rejecting standard theories of propositional attitudes. The conclusion is also neutral on the strong essentialist claim that any kind of intentional action necessarily requires indexical thought. (shrink)
Indexical beliefs pose a special problem for standard theories of Bayesian updating. Sometimes we are uncertain about our location in time and space. How are we to update our beliefs in situations like these? In a stepwise fashion, I develop a constraint on the dynamics of indexical belief. As an application, the suggested constraint is brought to bear on the Sleeping Beauty problem.
No word in English is shorter than the word I.' And yet no word is more important in philosophy. When Descartes said I think therefore I am' he produced something that was both about himself and a universal formula. The word I' is called an indexical' because its meaning always depends on who says it. Other examples of indexicals are you,' here,' this' and now.' John Perry discusses how these kinds of words work, and why they express important philosophical (...) thoughts. He shows that indexicals pose a challenge to traditional assumptions about language and thought. Over the years a number of these papers, now included in this book, have sparked lively debates and have been influential in philosophy, linguistics and other areas of cognitive science. With seven new papers, including the previously unpublished What Are Indexicals?,' the present volume expands on an earlier version of this book published in the early nineties. Also included are the well-known papers Frege on Demonstratives,' Cognitive Significance and New Theories of Reference,' Evading the Slingshot,' The Prince and the Phone booth', Fodor on Psychological Explanations', and related papers on situation semantics, direct reference, and the structure of belief. This book also includes afterwords written by the author that discuss responses to his work by Gareth Evans, Robert Stalnaker, Barbara Partee, Howard Wettstein and others. (shrink)
Like proper names, demonstratives, and definite descriptions, pronouns have referential uses. These can be 'essentially indexical' in the sense that they cannot be replaced by non-pronominal forms of reference. Here we show that the grammar of pronouns in such occurrences is systematically different from that of other referential expressions, in a way that illuminates the differences in reference in question. We specifically illustrate, in the domain of Romance clitics and pronouns, a hierarchy of referentiality, as related to the topology (...) of the grammatical phase. Our explanation is based on extending the 'Topological Mapping Hypotheses' of Longobardi and Sheehan & Hinzen. The extended topology covers the full range of interpretations, from purely predicative to quantificational, to referential and deictic. Along this scale, grammatical complexity increases, and none of these forms of reference is lexical. This provides evidence for the foundational conclusion that the source of essential indexicality is grammatical rather than lexical, semantic or pragmatic. (shrink)
Contextualism concerning vagueness (hereafter ‘CV’) is a popular response to the puzzle of vagueness. The goal in this paper is to uncover in what ways vagueness may be a particular species of context-sensitivity. The most promising form of CV turns out to be a version of socalled ‘Non-Indexical Contextualism’. In §2, we sketch a generic form of CV (hereafter ‘GCV’). In §3, we distinguish between Truth CV and Content CV. A non-indexical form of CV is a form of (...) Truth CV, while an indexical form of CV is a form of Content CV. In §4, we argue that the theory of vagueness given in Fara (2000) is crucially incomplete but is best seen as a non-indexical form of CV. In §5, we set forth four kinds of error-theory to which CV might be committed. It turns out that Non-Indexical CV is committed to a weaker, and more plausible, error-theory than Indexical CV. In §6, we address a challenge posed by Keefe (2007) to the effect that CV entails that any speech report of what has been said by a particular vague utterance, where the context of utterance and the reporting context are relevantly different, will almost always be inaccurate. While this challenge is prima facie effective against Indexical CV it proves to be less effective against Non-Indexical CV. In §7, we look at two tests for context-sensitivity and assess whether they can be employed against CV. These tests, if cogent, reveal that the only workable form of CV is Non-Indexical CV. (shrink)
I happen to believe that though human experiences are to be characterized as pluralistic they are all rooted in the one reality. I would assume the thesis of pluralism but how could I maintain my belief in the realism? There are various discussions in favor of realism but they appear to stay within a particular paradigm so to be called “internal realism”. In this paper I would try to justify my belief in the reality by discussing a special use of (...) indexicals. I will argue for my indexical realism by advancing the thesis that indexicals can be used as an inter-agentic referential term. Three arguments for the thesis will be presented. The first argument derives from a revision of Kaplan-Kvart’s notion of exportation. Their notions of exportation of singular terms can be analyzed as intra-agentic exportation in the context of a single speaker and theirs may be revised so as to be an inter-agentic exportation in the context of two speakers who use the same indexicals. The second is an argument from the notion of causation which is specifically characterized in the context of inter-theoretic reference. I will argue that any two theories may each say “this” in order to refer what is beyond its own theory. Two theories address themselves to ‘this’ same thing though what ‘this’ represents in each theory turn out to be different objects all together. The third argument is an argument which is based on a possibility of natural reference. Reference is used to be taken mostly as a 3-place predicate: Abe refers an object oi with an expression ej. The traditional notion of reference is constructive and anthropocentric. But I would argue that natural reference is a reference that we humans come to recognize among denumerably many objects in natural states: at a moment mi in a natural state there is a referential relation among objects o1, o2, o3, . . , oj, o j+1, . . which interact to each other as agents of information processors. Natural reference is an original reference which is naturally given and to which humans are passive as we derivatively refer it by using ‘this’. (shrink)
This paper advances the thesis that sensory concepts have as a semantic component the first-person indexical. It is argued that the private nature of our access to our own sensations forces, in our talking about them, an indexical reference to the inner states of the speaker in lieu of publicly accessible properties by which reference is usually fixed. Indexicals, such as ‘here’, can be understood despite ignorance of their referent. Such is the case with sensory terms. Furthermore, the (...) thesis that sensory terms are indexical has considerable explanatory power. I give two examples: firstly, I argue that clashes of intuition over Block's ‘inverted spectrum’ thought experiment can be explained by appeal to semantic properties of indexicals. Secondly, I argue that multiple realisability intuitions can be shown to be consistent with the view that sensations are type-identical with brain states. (shrink)
What characterizes indexical thinking is the fact that the modes of presentation through which one thinks of objects are context-bound and perspectival. Such modes of presentation, I claim, are mental files presupposing that we stand in certain relations to the reference : the role of the file is to store information one can gain in virtue of standing in that relation to the object. This raises the communication problem, first raised by Frege : if indexical thoughts are context-bound (...) and relation-based, how is it possible to communicate them to those who are not in the same context and do not stand in the right relations to the object? Following Frege, I argue that the solution comes from an important distinction between linguistic and psychological modes of presentation. Psychological modes of presentation are mental files. They are perspectival and context-bound. But linguistic modes of presentation are fixed by the conventions of the language and they are shared by the language users. They are public and serve to coordinate mental files in communication by constraining them to contain the piece of information they encode. In this way communication takes place even though the indexical thoughts entertained by the speaker are, in some sense, private and cannot be shared by the audience. (shrink)
Indexical contextualism is an account of predicates of personal taste which views the semantic content of PPTs as sensitive to the context in which they are uttered, by virtue of their containing an implicit indexical element. Should the context of utterance change, the semantic content carried by the PPT will also change. The main aim of this paper is to show that IC is unable to provide a satisfactory account of PPTs. I look at what I call “pure” (...) IC accounts and show that because they fail to respect empirical data regarding disagreements where neither person is at fault, known as “faultless disagreements”, they must be rejected. I then go on to consider what I call IC “plus” accounts. Such accounts attempt to account for the faultlessness of such disagreements using a simple indexical semantics, whilst introducing some extra ingredient to account for the disagreement part. I focus on two main versions of IC+: Gutzmann’s Subjective meaning: alternatives to relativism, De Gruyter, Berlin, 2016) expressivist account, and López de Sa’s Relative truth, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2008; Erkenntnis 80:153–165, 2015) presuppositional account. I discuss some internal worries with these accounts before going on to some final remarks about IC/IC+ in general. I conclude that neither IC nor IC+ can provide a satisfactory semantics for PPTs. (shrink)
Drawing on convergent work in a broad range of disciplines, this article uses the tipping point paradigm to frame a new account of how early human ancestors may have first broken free from, as Bickerton calls it, the “prison of animal communication.” Under building pressure for an enhanced signaling system capable of supporting joint attentional-intentional activities, a cultural tradition of disambiguated indexical pointing, combined with increasingly sophisticated mindreading circuitry and prosocial tendencies, may have sparked the first in the series (...) of biocultural explosions that led from a simple protolanguage to fully modern human language. This account successfully integrates at least ten other competing hypotheses, and is shown to pass nine important tests that have been proposed for language origin scenarios of its type. (shrink)
Indexicality is a feature of predicates and predicate components (verbs, adjectives, adverbs and the like) as well as of referring expressions. With classic referring indexicals such as 'I' or 'that' a distinctive rule takes us from token and context to some item present in the content which is the semantic correlate of the token. Predicates and predicate components may function in an analogous fashion. For example 'thus' is an indexical adverb which latches onto some manner of performance present in (...) its context. 'John sang thus', said while indicating someone singing discordantly, claims that John sang discordantly. The phenomenon of predicatival indexicality is widespread in English and is expressed in a variety of idioms. Indexical predication plays important epistemological and psychological roles and the notion may have other interesting philosophical applications. (shrink)
This paper discusses two notational variance views with respect to indexical singular reference and content: the view that certain forms of Millianism are at bottom notational variants of a Fregean theory of reference, the Fregean Notational Variance Claim; and the view that certain forms of Fregeanism are at bottom notational variants of a direct reference theory, the Millian Notational Variance Claim. While the former claim rests on the supposition that a direct reference theory could be easily turned into a (...) particular version of a neo-Fregean one by showing that it is bound to acknowledge certain senselike entities, the latter claim is based upon the supposition that a neo-Fregean theory could be easily turned into a particular version of a Millian one by showing that De Re senses are theoretically superfluous and hence eliminable. The question how many accounts of singular reference and content are we confronted with here — Two different (and mutually antagonistic) theories? Or just two versions of what is in essence the same theory? — is surely of importance to anyone interested in the topic. And this question should be answered by means of a careful assessment of the soundness of each of the above claims. Before trying to adjudicate between the two accounts, one would naturally want to know whether or not there are indeed two substantially disparate accounts. Grosso modo, if the Fregean Claim were sound then we would have a single general conception of singular reference to deal with, viz. Fregeanism; likewise, if the Millian Claim were sound we would be facing a single general conception of singular reference, viz. Millianism. My view is that both the Fregean Notational Variance Claim and its Millian counterpart are wrong, though naturally on different grounds. I have argued elsewhere that the Fregean Notational Variance Claim - considered in its application to the semantics of propositional-attitude reports involving proper names — is unsound. I intend tosupplement in this paper such a result by trying to show that the Millian Claim - taken in its application to the semantics of indexical expressions — should also be rated as incorrect. I focus on a certain set of arguments for the Millian Claim, arguments which I take as adequately representing the general outlook of the Millian theorist with respect to neo-Fregeanism about indexicals and which involve issues about the cognitive significance of sentences containing indexical terms. (shrink)
: Frege’s remarks about the first-person pronoun in Der Gedanke have elicited numerous commentaries, but his insight has not been fully appreciated or developed. Commentators have overlooked Frege’s reasons for claiming that there are two distinct first-person senses, and failed to realize that his remarks easily generalize to all indexicals. I present a perspectival theory of indexicals inspired by Frege’s claim that all indexical types have a dual meaning which, in turn, leads to a duality of senses expressed by (...)indexical tokens. Keywords : Indexicals; First Person; Perspective; Senses La doppia natura degli indessicali: una posizione fregeana Riassunto : Le osservazioni di Frege sul pronome di prima persona contenute in Der Gedanke hanno sollevato numerosi commenti, ma le sue intuizioni non sono state pienamente comprese o sviluppate. I commentatori di Frege hanno trascurato le ragioni per le quali egli sosteneva che ci sono due distinti sensi della prima persona e non hanno colto come queste sue osservazioni possono essere facilmente estese a tutti gli indessicali. Intendo presentare qui una posizione prospettivista sugli indessicali, ispirata dall’affermazione di Frege per cui tutti i tipi di indessicali hanno un doppio significato che, a sua volta, porta a una doppia natura dei sensi espressi dalle occorrenze indessicali. Parole chiave : Indessicali; Prima persona; Prospettiva; Sensi. (shrink)
In the first part of this paper I sketch a theory of indexical concepts within a broadly epistemic framework. In the second part I discuss and dismiss an argument due to Jerry Fodor, to the effect that any epistemic approach to concept individuation (including the theory of indexical concepts I will sketch) is doomed to failure.
Some time ago, John Perry argued that the content of an indexical belief, that is, a belief expressible with a sentence containing an indexical or demonstrative, cannot be a proposition. I consider several of his arguments for this view, and show that they can be extended to show that belief expressible with other non-indexical expressions such as natural kind terms and proper names presents the very same problem for the traditional picture. I then suggest that if (...) class='Hi'>indexical belief has any special status, this is not because it has a special kind of content, but rather because action is impossible if agents do not have indexical belief. (shrink)
A context-shifting example involves a putatively non-ambiguous, non-elliptical, non-indexical declarative sentence, some distinct utterances of which differ in truth value despite sameness of place, time, surrounding objects, and other physical factors. Charles Travis has spawned a large literature by arguing that such examples undermine compositional truth-conditional semantics. After explaining how prior responses to Travis’s examples fail in the metaphysical details, the present essay develops a new approach that treats a wide range of subject terms as disguised indexicals sensitive to (...) mereological structure. (shrink)