Kaplan on Demonstratives. Demonstratives, Indexicals, Pure Indexicals. The best way to start is to get clear on Kaplan’s terminology. Indexicals. Indexicals are words whose meaning depends on context. Kaplan distinguishes between pure indexicals (e.g. I, here, now) and true demonstratives (e.g. that. had written out the formal semantics for my Logic of Demonstratives. David Kaplan is writing at 10 A.M. on 3/26/77, or (ii) the ‘proposition’ that David. Kaplan .

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Salmon investigates the relationship between the theory of direct reference in semantics and essentialism in metaphysics. A Few Formal Details Kaplan a presents an elaborate logic of indexicals. According to this picture, the meaning of a sentence S—in the sense of the information encoded by S—is a complex, structured entity whose constituents are the meanings of the sub-sentential expressions words and phrases that occur in S, and whose structure is determined by the structure of S.

There is one final observation worth noting before we leave this section: The disquotation test, however, is controversial. A Few Formal Details 3. If she does so, then she indirectly ascribes the property of being hungry to Bill, under the relation of being a man uniquely seen.

For example, on his later indexical theory of demonstratives, some formal analogs of 26such as 27are true in contexts in which the first demonstratum of the context is distinct from the second. Reprinted in Lewis Suppose that John understands sentence 16 and assertively utters 16 while addressing Mary and intending to refer to her.

So, Lewis would say that Mary de re believes of Bill that he is hungry. Minimal theories assign minimal, or no, semantic role to common noun phrases in complex demonstratives. See instead the entry on propositional attitude reports.


An example is an utterance of The intension of a directly referential expression is just the same thing. One virtue of the Fregean Theory of Demonstrations is that it provides an account of why certain uses of demonstratives are informative, while others are not. If direct reference theories are true, that proposition is also the singular proposition that John is making a mess. Kripke and others take this semantic feature of proper names to be a major objection to the analysis, inspired by Frege and Russell, of proper names as definite descriptions in Fregean terms, a definite description gives the sense of a proper name.

Which Expressions demonstrativs Indexicals? Other theorists have proposed other accounts. Print this article Print all entries for this topic Cite this article. Character and Content in Philosophy of Language. The reason we can do this is that a context determines the content of a sentence, and the content of that sentence determines a truth-value at a world. Demonstraties theory does not mention complex demonstratives, and it is not entirely clear how they should be integrated into a theory of demonstratives.

David Kaplan, Demonstratives – PhilPapers

The referential content of an utterance of a WA indexical is fixed automatically to some feature of the wide context of the utterance. But it is not. This is because many causal relations count, for Peirce, as existential relations. Some philosophers hold that indexical beliefs are de re beliefswhich are beliefs of objects. Intermediate theories say that the common noun phrase helps determine the referent. Perryand Kaplan aclaim that belief is a binary relation that agents can bear to propositions.


Pre-semantic uses of context involve using cues from the context of an utterance to resolve ambiguities, such as knowing whether a speaker who utters.


The most common objection arises from considering various technologies that we use in communication. Indexicals, such as hewhose reference and content depend on the actions or intentions of the speaker are commonly called demonstratives. Kaplan’s early work b tends to emphasize the importance of pointing gestures in determining reference.

Or, alternatively, is the content of the complex demonstrative simply the object to which the utterance refers?

Other theorists resist pervasive context-sensitivity ddmonstratives appealing to shiftiness in extension without shiftiness in content. Gottlob Frege gives similar reasons for thinking that the content of a proper name is not its referent, but is instead a sense that determines demonstrativs referent. Yet it is implausible to think that Kripke, careful logician that he is, would believe two obviously contradictory propositions such as these.

If the content of sentence S in context C is proposition Pthen the constituents of P are roughly the contents, in Cof the words in S.

But suppose instead I had pointed twice at the bow while uttering Call this token t 2. Therefore on Kaplan’s theory, the sentence I exist is a logical truth that fails to express a necessary truth in many contexts.

Some philosophers, however, have responded by modifying the Demonstrativds view: The referential content of an utterance of an NA indexical is fixed automatically to some feature of the narrow context.