Indexicals are linguistic expressions whose reference shifts from context to context: some paradigm examples are ‘I’, ‘here’, ‘now’, ‘today’,‘he’, ‘she’, and ‘that’. Two speakers who utter a single sentence that contains an indexical may say different things. For instance, Fred and Wilma say different things when they utter the sentence ‘I am female’. Many philosophers (following David Kaplan 1989a) hold that indexicals have two sorts of meaning. The first sort of meaning is often called ‘character’ or ‘linguistic meaning’; (...) the second sort is often called ‘content’. Using this terminology, we can say that the word ‘I’ has a single character (or linguistic meaning), but has different contents in different contexts. (shrink)
When you use the word “I” it designates you; when I use the same word, it designates me. If you use “you” talking to me, it designates me; when I use it talking to you, it designates you. “I” and “you” are indexicals. The designation of an indexical shifts from speaker to speaker, time to time, place to place. Different utterances of the same indexical designate different things, because what is designated depends not only on the meaning associated with (...) the expression, but also on facts about the utterance. An utterance of “I” designates the person who utters it; an utterance of “you” designates the person to whom it is addressed, an utterance of “here” designates the place at which the utterance is made, and so forth. Because indexicals shift their designation in this way, sentences containing indexicals can be used to say different things on different occasions. Suppose you say to me, “You are wrong and I am right about reference,” and I reply with the same sentence. We have used the same sentence, with the same meaning, but said quite different and incompatible things. (shrink)
Reichenbachian approaches to indexicality contend that indexicals are "token-reflexives": semantic rules associated with any given indexical-type determine the truth-conditional import of properly produced tokens of that type relative to certain relational properties of those tokens. Such a view may be understood as sharing the main tenets of Kaplan's well-known theory regarding content, or truth-conditions, but differs from it regarding the nature of the linguistic meaning of indexicals and also regarding the bearers of truth-conditional import and truth-conditions. Kaplan has (...) criticized these approaches on different counts, the most damaging of which is that they make impossible a "logic of demonstratives". The reason for this is that the token-reflexive approach entails that not two tokens of the same sentential type including indexicals are guaranteed to have the same truth-conditions. In this paper I rebut this and other criticisms of the Reichenbachian approach. Additionally, I point out that Kaplan's original theory of "true demonstratives" is empirically inadequate, and claim that any modification capable of accurately handling the linguistic data would have similar problems to those attributed to the Reichenbachian approach. This is intended to show that the difficulties, no matter how real, are not caused by idiosincracies of the "token-reflexive" view, but by deep facts about indexicality. (shrink)
In recent analytic literature on the Trinity we have seen a variety of "social" models of the Trinity. By contrast there are few "non-‐social" models. One prominent "non-‐social" view is Brian Leftow's "Latin Trinity." I argue that the name of Leftow's model is not sufficiently descriptive in light of diverse models within Latin speaking theology. Next, I develop a new "non-‐social" model that is inspired by Richard of St. Victor's description of a person in conjunction with my appropriating insights about (...)indexicals from David Kaplan and John Perry. I point out that the copula in tokens of statements like, "I am the Father," is an ambiguous term and when used by a certain divine person a different proposition is affirmed. Central to this model is the claim that the copula bears the "is of identity" and the "is of numerical sameness without identity." Further, I show that Leftow's model employs two concepts of "person," a Lockean one and a Boethian one, and mine employs Richard of St. Victor's. I describe Leftow's model as a "hard non-‐social" model and mine as a "soft non-‐social" model that is nearer to some social models. I conclude that Leftow's model is not the lone candidate among "non-‐social" models and that the variety of "non-‐social" models has yet to be exhausted. (shrink)
I argue that not all context dependent expressions are alike. Pure (or ordinary) indexicals behave more or less as Kaplan thought. But quasi indexicals behave in some ways like indexicals and in other ways not like indexicals. A quasi indexical sentence φ allows for cases in which one party utters φ and the other its negation, and neither party’s claim has to be false. In this sense, quasi indexicals are like pure indexicals (think: “I (...) am a doctor”/“I am not a doctor” as uttered by different individuals). In such cases involving a pure indexical sentence, it is not appropriate for the two parties to reject each other’s claims by saying, “No.” However, in such cases involving a quasi indexical sentence, it is appropriate for the par- ties to reject each other’s claims. In this sense, quasi indexicals are not like pure indexicals. Drawing on experimental evidence, I argue that gradable adjectives like “rich” are quasi indexicals in this sense. e existence of quasi indexicals raises trouble for many existing theories of context dependence, including standard contextualist and relativist theories. I propose an alternative semantic and pragmatic theory of quasi indexicals, negotiated contextualism, that combines insights from Kaplan 1989 and Lewis 1979. On my theory, rejection is licensed with quasi indexicals (even when neither of the claims involved has to be false) because the two utterances involve conflicting proposals about how to update the conversational score. I also adduce evidence that conflicting truth value assessments of a single quasi indexical utterance exhibit the same behavior. I argue that negotiated contextualism can account for this puzzling property of quasi indexicals as well. (shrink)
In this essay I examine how we use indexicals. The key function of indexicals, I claim, is to help the audience --- that is the hearers or readers of the utterance with whom the speaker intends to be communicating---to find supplementary channels of information about the object to which the indexical refers. To keep the discussion manageable, I will oversimplify the epistemology of conversation. I ignore the fact that people sometimes lie and sometimes make mistakes. I talk freely (...) about what one learns and the information one gets from an utterance. (shrink)
In the last twenty years, recorded messages and written notes have become a significant test and an intriguing puzzle for the semantics of indexical expressions (see Smith 1989, Predelli 1996, 1998a,1998b, 2002, Corazza et al. 2002, Romdenh-Romluc 2002). In particular, the intention-based approach proposed by Stefano Predelli has proven to bear interesting relations to several major questions in philosophy of language. In a recent paper (Saul 2006), Jennifer Saul draws on the literature on indexicals and recorded messages in order (...) to criticize Rae Langton's claim that works of pornography can be understood as illocutionary acts – in particular acts of subordinating women or acts of silencing women. Saul argues that it does not make sense to understand works of pornography as speech acts, because only utterances in contexts can be speech acts. More precisely, works of pornography such as a film may be seen as recordings that can be used in many different contexts – exactly like a written note or an answering machine message. According to Saul, bringing contexts into the picture undermines Langton's radical thesis – which must be reformulated in much weaker terms. In this paper, I accept Saul's claim that only utterances in contexts can be speech acts, and that therefore only works of pornography in contexts may be seen as illocutionary acts of silencing women. I will, nonetheless, show that Saul's reformulation doesn't undermine Langton's thesis. To this aim, I will use the distinction Predelli proposes in order to account for the semantic behaviour of indexical expressions in recorded messages – namely the distinction between context of utterance and context of interpretation. (shrink)
In “Now the French are invading England” (Analysis 62, 2002, pp. 34-41), Komarine Romdenh-Romluc offers a new theory of the relationship between recorded indexicals and their content. Romdenh-Romluc’s proposes that Kaplan’s basic idea, that reference is determined by applying a rule to a context, is correct, but we have to be careful about what the context is, since it is not always the context of utterance. A few well known examples illustrate this. The “here” and “now” in “I am (...) not here now” on an answering machine do not refer to the time and place of the original utterance, but to the time the message is played back, and the place its attached telephone is located. Any occurrence of “today” in a newspaper or magazine refers not to the day the story in which it appears was written, nor to the day the newspaper or magazine was printed, but to the cover date of that publication. Still, it is plausible that for each (token of an) indexical there is a salient context, and that “today” refers to the day of its context, “here” to the place of its context, and soon. Romdenh-Romluc takes this to be true, and then makes a proposal about what the salient context is. It is “the context that Ac would identify on the basis of cues that she would reasonably take U to be exploiting.” (39) Ac is the relevant audience, “the individual who it is reasonable to take the speaker to be addressing”, and who is assumed to be linguistically competent and attentive. (So Ac might not be the person U intends to address. This will not matter for what follows.) The proposal seems to suggest that it is impossible to trick a reasonably attentive hearer about what the referent of a particular indexical is. Since such trickery does seem possible, Romdenh-Romluc’s theory needs (at least) supplementation. I present two examples of such tricks. (shrink)
I propose a pragmatic approach to the kind of reference-shifting occurring in indexicals as used in e.g. written notes and answering machine messages. I proceed in two steps. First, I prepare the ground by showing that the arguments against such a pragmatic approach raised in the recent literature fail. Second, I take a first few steps towards implementing this approach, by sketching a pragmatic theory of reference-shifting, and showing how it can handle cases of the relevant kind. While the (...) immediate scope of the paper is restricted to indexicals and reference-shifting, and the discussion is confined to a specific range of theories and cases, the approach proposed is compatible with a fairly broad range of more or less semantically conservative theories, and many of the conclusions drawn are significant for the evaluation of pragmatic explanations in philosophy more generally. The overall goal is to offer a new perspective on the issues under discussion, and to prompt philosophers to reconsider some of the established methods by which pragmatic explanations are evaluated. (shrink)
We distinguish, among other things, between the agent of the context, the speaker of the agent's utterance, the mechanism the agent uses to produce her utterance, and the tokening of the sentence uttered. Armed with these distinctions, we tackle the the ‘answer-machine’, ‘post-it note’ and other allegedly problematic cases, arguing that they can be handled without departing significantly from Kaplan's semantical framework for indexicals. In particular, we argue that these cases don't require adopting Stefano Predelli's intentionalism.
Kaplanian, two-dimensional theories secure rigidity for indexicals by positing special contexts and semantic mechanisms reserved only for indexicals. The result is a deep and unexplained chasm between expressions that depend on the extra-linguistic context and expressions that depend on the discourse context. Theories that treat indexicals as anaphoric, presuppositional expressions (e.g., Zeevat 1999; Roberts 2002; Hunter & Asher 2005; Maier 2006, 2009) have the potential to be more minimal and general than Kaplanian, two-dimensional theories—the mechanism of presupposition, (...) unlike that of Kaplanian character, is useful for the semantics of a great many expressions. Maier (2006, 2009), however, has argued that presuppositional theories of indexicals must be supplemented with a two-dimensional semantics in order to secure rigidity for indexicals. If this is right, then presuppositional theories of indexicals will suffer from the limitations of Kaplan's system. This article argues that Maier is not right on this point: presuppositions can completely replace Kaplanian characters. A presuppositional theory can secure rigidity for indexicals without positing two independent dimensions of meaning that can never interact; in particular, it can do so without positing that indexicals have a special kind of meaning that by its nature can never interact with the kind of meaning that Kaplan called ‘content’. The result is a more general, minimal and flexible theory that better handles the data on indexicals. (shrink)
We present a computational analysis of de re, de dicto, and de se belief and knowledge reports. Our analysis solves a problem first observed by Hector-Neri Castañeda, namely, that the simple rule -/- `(A knows that P) implies P' -/- apparently does not hold if P contains a quasi-indexical. We present a single rule, in the context of a knowledge-representation and reasoning system, that holds for all P, including those containing quasi-indexicals. In so doing, we explore the difference between (...) reasoning in a public communication language and in a knowledge-representation language, we demonstrate the importance of representing proper names explicitly, and we provide support for the necessity of considering sentences in the context of extended discourse (for example, written narrative) in order to fully capture certain features of their semantics. (shrink)
Philosophers and logicians use the term “indexical” for words such as “I”, “you” and “tomorrow”. Demonstratives such as “this” and “that” and demonstratives phrases such as “this man” and “that computer” are usually reckoned as a subcategory of indexicals. (Following [Kaplan, 1989a].) The “context-dependence” of indexicals is often taken as a defining feature: what an indexical designates shifts from context to context. But there are many kinds of shiftiness, with corresponding conceptions of context. Until we clarify what we (...) mean by “context”, this defining feature remains unclear. In sections 1–3, which are largely drawn from [Perry, forthcoming(a)], I try to clarify the sense in which indexicals are context-dependent and make some distinctions among the ways indexicals depend on context. In sections 3–6, I contrast indexicality with another phenomenon that I call “unarticulated constituents.”. (shrink)
To avoid difficulties facing intention-based accounts of indexicals, Cohen () recently defends a conventionalist account that focuses on the context of tokening. On this view, a token of ‘here’ or ‘now’ refers to the place or time at which it tokens. However, although promising, such an account faces a serious problem: in many speech acts, multiple apparent tokens are produced. If I call Alaska from Paris and say ‘I'm here now’, an apparent token of my utterance will be produced (...) in both Paris and Alaska. The token-contextual account seems to imply that in such cases I will refer to both places and contradict myself. Here I argue that to resolve this and similar puzzles we must realize that not all apparent semantic tokens really are semantic tokens, and that to decide which ones count we must appeal to speaker intentions. However, because this appeal is made at the level of the metaphysics of semantic tokens rather than to determine their meaning, it does not raise the problems associated with intentionalism that the conventionalist hopes to avoid. The metaphysics of semantic tokens uncovered is surprisingly complex, showing that shapes and sounds can transition in and out of being utterances. (shrink)
This paper is a comparison of Kripke’s and Künne’s interpretations of Frege’s theory of indexicals, especially concerning Frege’s remarks on time as “part of the expression of thought”. I analyze the most contrasting features of Kripke’s and Künne’s interpretations of Frege’s remarks on indexicals. Subsequently, I try to identify a common ground between Kripke’s and Künne’s interpretations, and hint at a possible convergence between those two views, stressing the importance given by Frege to nonverbal signs in defining the (...) content of thought. I conclude by indicating a possible direction for further research. (shrink)
Recording devices are generally taken to present problems for the standard Kaplanian semantics for indexicals. In this paper, I argue that the remote utterance view offers the best way for the Kaplanian semantics to handle the recalcitrant data that comes from the use of recording devices. Following Sidelle I argue that recording devices allow agents to perform utterances at a distance. Using the essential, but widely ignored, distinction between tokens and utterances, I develop the view beyond the initial sketch (...) given by Sidelle, and I answer the main objections raised against the view. The paper is structured as follows. Section 1 gives a succinct presentation of Kaplanian semantics and of the problem raised by the use recording devices, Section 2 presents the remote utterance view and Section 3 answers the objections put forward against the view and further develops it. I conclude that the remote utterance view can handle the data that comes from the use of recording devices with only modest modifications of the Kaplanian semantics. (shrink)
In this paper I argue for a non-referential interpretation of some uses of indexicals embedded under epistemic modals. The so-called descriptive uses of indexicals come in several types and it is argued that those embedded within the scope of modal operators do not require non-referential interpretation, provided the modality is interpreted as epistemic. I endeavor to show that even if we allow an epistemic interpretation of modalities, the resulting interpretation will still be inadequate as long as we retain (...) a referential interpretation of indexicals. I then propose an analysis of descriptive indexicals that combines an epistemic interpretation of modality with a non-referential interpretation of indexicals. (shrink)
Cappelen and Dever have recently defended the view that indexicals are not essential: They do not signify anything philosophically deep and we do not need indexicals for any important philosophical work. This paper contests their view from the point of view of an account of intentional agency. It argues that we need indexicals essentially when accounting for what it is do something intentionally and, as a consequence, intentional action, and defends a view of intentional action as a (...) possible conclusion of practical reasoning where the indexical is essential for the content of such a conclusion. (shrink)
Within the class of indexicals, a distinction is often made between “pure” or “automatic” indexicals on one hand, and demonstratives or “discretionary” indexicals on the other. The idea is supposed to be that certain indexicals refer automatically and invariably to a particular feature of the utterance context: ‘I’ refers to the speaker, ‘now’ to the time of utterance, ‘here’ to the place of utterance, etc. Against this view, I present cases where reference shifts from the speaker, (...) time, or place of utterance to some other object, time, or place. I consider and reject the claim that these counterexamples to the automatic indexical theory all involve non-literal uses of indexicals and argue that they cannot be explained away on the grounds that they involve conversational implicature or pretense. (shrink)
Are non-indexical action rationalizations necessarily incomplete because of a missing indexical component? Bermúdez argues that they are. Two things make the argument unpersuasive. First, it assumes that all action rationalizations involve attitudes that are about the agent. Second, it assumes that the attitudes expressible using ‘I’ are themselves indexical. Each is an assumption that believers in complete but non-indexical action rationalizations can and do reject. Surprisingly though, a more effective argument can be obtained by switching focus from indexical attitudes about (...) agents to indexical attitudes about times. The debate about the de se and the de nunc has much less in common than is standardly assumed. It is the de nunc not the de se which provides the knock-down case for essential indexicality. (shrink)
I provide a novel semantic analysis of proper names and indexicals, combining insights from the competing traditions of referentialism, championed by Kripke and Kaplan, and descriptivism, introduced by Frege and Russell, and more recently resurrected by Geurts and Elbourne, among others. From the referentialist tradition, I borrow the proof that names and indexicals are not synonymous to any definite description but pick their referent from the context directly. From the descriptivist tradition, I take the observation that names, and (...) to some extent indexicals, have uses that are best understood by analogy with anaphora and definite descriptions, that is, following Geurts, in terms of presupposition projection. The hybrid analysis that I propose is couched in Layered Discourse Representation Theory. Proper names and indexicals trigger presuppositions in a dedicated layer, which is semantically interpreted as providing a contextual anchor for the interpretation of the other layers. For the proper resolution of DRSs with layered presuppositions, I add two constraints to van der Sandt's algorithm. The resulting proposal accounts for both the classic philosophical examples and the new linguistic data, preserving a unified account of the preferred rigid interpretation of both names and indexicals, while leaving room for non-referential readings under contextual pressure. (shrink)
In this paper I shall focus on Castaneda's notion of quasi-indicators and I shall defend the following theses: (i) Essential indexicals (‘I’, ‘here’ and ‘now’) are intrinsically perspectival mechanisms of reference and, as such, they are not reducible to any other mechanism reference...
I defend contextualist solutions to the sorites paradox (according to which solutions vague terms are indexicals) from a recent objection raised by Jason Stanley. Stanley's argument depends on the claim that indexical expressions always have invariant interpretations in "Verb Phrase" ellipsis. I argue that this claim is false.
I defend contextualist solutions to the sorites paradox (according to which solutions vague terms are indexicals) from a recent objection raised by Jason Stanley. Stanley's argument depends on the claim that indexical expressions always have invariant interpretations in "Verb Phrase" ellipsis. I argue that this claim is false.
Since Kaplan : 81–98, 1979) first provided a logic for context-sensitive expressions, it has been thought that the only way to construct a logic for indexicals is to restrict it to arguments which take place in a single context— that is, instantaneous arguments, uttered by a single speaker, in a single place, etc. In this paper, I propose a logic which does away with these restrictions, and thus places arguments where they belong, in real world conversations. The central innovation (...) is that validity depends not just on the sentences in the argument, but also on certain abstract relations between contexts. This enrichment of the notion of logical form leads to some seemingly counter-intuitive results: a sequence of sentences may make up a valid argument in one sequence of contexts, and an invalid one in another such sequence. I argue that this is an unavoidable result of context sensitivity in general, and of the nature of indexicals in particular, and that reflection on such examples will lead us to a better understanding of the idea of applying logic to context sensitive expressions, and thus to natural language in general. (shrink)
We defend the view that an indexical uttered by an actor works on the model of deferred reference. If it defers to a character which does not exist, it is an empty term, just as ‘Hamlet’ and ‘Ophelia’ are. The utterance in which it appears does not express a proposition and thus lacks a truth value. We advocate an ontologically parsimonious, anti-realist, position. We show how the notion of truth in our use and understanding of indexicals (and fictional names) (...) as they appear within a fiction is not a central issue. We claim that our use and understanding of indexicals (and names) rests on the fact that their cognitive contribution is not exhausted by their semantic contribution. (shrink)
This paper offers an analysis of indexical expressions and proper names as they are used in proverbs. Both indexicals and proper names contribute properties rather than objects to the propositions expressed when they are used in sentences interpreted as proverbs. According to the proposal, their contribution is accounted for by the mechanism of descriptive anaphora. Indexicals with rich linguistic meaning, such as ‘I’, ‘you’ or ‘today’, turn out to be cases of the attributive uses of indexicals, i.e. (...) uses whose contribution relies on the linguistic meaning of the word. Third person pronouns, names of locations as well as surnames are analyzed as non-attributive descriptive uses. (shrink)
Frege held that indexical thoughts could be retained through changes of context that required a change of indexical term. I argue that Frege was partially right in that a singular mode of presentation can be retained through changes of indexical. There must, however, be a further mode of presentation that changes when the indexical term changes. This suggests that indexicals should be regarded as complex demonstratives; a change of indexical term is like a change between 'that φ' and 'that (...) ψ', where 'φ' and 'ψ' pick out relational properties that may nonetheless be conceived of by the thinker as intrinsic. (shrink)
Two main methods for analysing de re readings of definite descriptions in intensional contexts coexist: that of evaluating the description in the actual world, whether by means of scope, actuality operators, or non-local world binding, and that of substituting another description, usually one expressing a salient or ‘vivid’ acquaintance relation to an attitude holder, prior to evaluation. Recent work on so-called descriptive indexicals suggests that contrary to common assumptions, both methods are needed, for different ends. This paper aims to (...) show that there is indeed a division of labour between the two methods of analysis and to identify criteria for choosing among alternative ways to model the second, substitutional method. (shrink)
The indexical thesis says that the indexical terms, “I”, “here” and “now” necessarily refer to the person, place and time of utterance, respectively, with the result that the sentence, “I am here now” cannot express a false proposition. Gerald Vision offers supposed counter-examples: he says, “I am here now”, while pointing to the wrong place on a map; or he says it in a note he puts in the kitchen for his wife so she’ll know he’s home even though he’s (...) gone upstairs for a nap, but then he leaves the house, forgetting to remove the note. The first sentence is false by virtue of “here” not necessarily referring to the place of utterance, the second sentence, by virtue of “now” not necessarily referring to the time of utterance. We argue that these sentences express falsehoods only because the terms are being used demonstratively, not indexically – the distinction pertains not to words simpliciter, but to uses of words. When used indexically, the terms refer in accord with the indexical thesis; but when used demonstratively, their referents depend on how devices of ostension are used with their utterance – pointings, and the like. Thus Vision’s first sentence really says, “I am there now”, referring to the place on the map the finger is pointing to. As for his second sentence, we distinguish the time of utterance or production of a sentence from the time of its uptake. Due to the pragmatics of interpretation, the sentence really says “I” – the person ‘uttering’ the note – “am here” – here where the note is, with the note serving as a kind of proxy ‘finger’ – “now” – where “now” refers to the time of uptake of the note, i.e., when it is read. “I” refers indexically, “here”, demonstratively, and “now”, indexically, but indexically to the time of uptake. Since the sentence is not purely indexical, its falsehood doesn’t threaten the indexical thesis. A similar treatment is given of teletyped messages about the typer’s location. (shrink)
you use it. These two assumptions, which I believe to be false, are based on a more fundamental assumption, that the rule governing the reference of an indexical remains constant from use to use. Contemporary theories hold that the reference of an indexical varies from use to (relevantly different) use, but that the reference-fixing rule of use is You can search..
In this paper, I consider whether tenses, temporal indexicals, and other indexicals are contextually dependent on the context of assessment (or a-contextual), rather than, as is usually thought, contextually dependent on the context of utterance (u-contextual). I begin by contrasting two possible linguistic norms, governing our use of context sensitive expressions, especially tenses and temporal indexicals (??2 and 3), and argue that one of these norms would make those expressions u-contextual, while the other would make them a-contextual (...) (?4). I then ask which of these two norms are followed by English speakers (?5). Finally, I argue that the existence of a-contextuality does not in any sense entail ?relativism? about truth (?6). (shrink)
(1) Jenny is coming to visit me tonight. (2) I’m going to visit Jenny tonight. In these examples, it is where I am (my home, let us suppose) that is the center of the coming and going. This may suggest that the perspective point is always the perspective of the speaker, and that comings are always towards the speaker and that goings are away from the location of the speaker. But this isn’t necessarily so. For example, suppose that a colleague (...) from work calls me at home to find out why I’m late for a meeting. I could reply. (shrink)
Indexicals are expressions that vary in reference according to the context in which they are used. They are of two sorts: pure, and impure or demonstrative. Unlike pure indexicals, demonstratives require an extralinguistic element, like a demonstration or an intention of a certain sort, in order to refer.
Indexical reference is personal, ephemeral, confrontational, and executive. Hence it is not reducible to nonindexical reference to what is not confronted. Conversely, nonindexical reference is not reducible to indexical reference. (Castañeda 1989, p. 70).
In this paper, I advance a new view of the semantics of indexicals, using a paper by Quentin Smith as my starting point. I make use of Smith’s examples, refined and expanded upon by myself to argue, as Smith does, that the standard view, that indexicals refer to some prominent features of the context according to an invariant rule called the character, does not agree with a wide range of phenomena. I depart from Smith, however, in denying that (...) we need more complex rules, which he does not give, called metacharacters to account for all the deviations, and instead argue for a view of indexicals as just being special cases of demonstratives. I show how demonstratives can be substituted for indexicals to support this view, and I adduce recent work in the semantics of demonstratives to explain how it can work. (shrink)
In this paper, I propose a new way to distinguish between indexicals, like “I” and “today”, and demonstratives, like “she” and “this”. The main test case is the second person singular pronoun “you”. The tradition would generally count it as a demonstrative, because the speaker’s intentions play a role in providing it with a semantic value. I present cross-linguistic data and explanations offered of the data in typology and semantics to show that “you” belongs on the indexical side, and (...) argue that they can be generalized to a novel criterion for distinguishing between indexicals and demonstratives. The central theoretical claim is that the semantic values of indexicals are objects which play certain utterance-related roles, which are fixed independently of the words being used in the utterance. For instance, the speaker plays the speaker role whether or not she uses the word “I”, and the addressee plays that role whether or not the speaker uses the word “you”. Demonstratives, on the other hand, pick out objects that play no such role, and are instead helped by the speaker’s word-specific intentions. (shrink)
It is a characteristically Fregean thesis that the sense expressed by an expression is the linguistic meaning of that expression. Sense can play this role for Frege since it meets fundamental desiderata for meaning, that it be universal and invariantly expressed and objectively the same for everyone who knows the language. It has been argued,1 however, that, as a general thesis about natural languages, the identi cation of sense and meaning cannot be sustained since it is in con ict with (...) another characteristically Fregean thesis, that sense uniquely determines reference. The argument is quite simple and can be outlined as follows. Assume the two theses we have just stated. (shrink)