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Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and other Indexicals

In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563 (1989)

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  1. Formal Semantics and Applied Mathematics: An Inferential Account.Ryan M. Nefdt - 2020 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 29 (2):221-253.
    In this paper, I utilise the growing literature on scientific modelling to investigate the nature of formal semantics from the perspective of the philosophy of science. Specifically, I incorporate the inferential framework proposed by Bueno and Colyvan : 345–374, 2011) in the philosophy of applied mathematics to offer an account of how formal semantics explains and models its data. This view produces a picture of formal semantic models as involving an embedded process of inference and representation applying indirectly to linguistic (...)
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  • De Se Beliefs, Self-Ascription, and Primitiveness.Florian L. Wüstholz - 2017 - Disputatio 9 (46):401-422.
    De se beliefs typically pose a problem for propositional theories of content. The Property Theory of content tries to overcome the problem of de se beliefs by taking properties to be the objects of our beliefs. I argue that the concept of self-ascription plays a crucial role in the Property Theory while being virtually unexplained. I then offer different possibilities of illuminating that concept and argue that the most common ones are either circular, question-begging, or epistemically problematic. Finally, I argue (...)
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  • Singular Reference Without Singular Thought.Filipe Martone - 2016 - Manuscrito 39 (1):33-60.
    In this paper I challenge the widespread assumption that the conditions for singular reference are more or less the same as the conditions for singular thought. I claim that we refer singularly to things without thinking singularly about them more often than it is usually believed. I first argue that we should take the idea that singular thought is non-descriptive thought very seriously. If we do that, it seems that we cannot be so liberal about what counts as acquaintance; only (...)
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  • Now, Imagine an Actually Existing Unicorn: On Russellian Worries for Modal Meinongianism.Andreas de Jong - forthcoming - Axiomathes:1-16.
    Modal Meinongianism provides the semantics of sentences involving intentional verbs Priest (Towards Nonbeing, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2016). To that end, Modal Meinongianism employs a pointed non-normal quantified modal logic model. Like earlier Meinongian views Modal Meinongianism has a characterisation principle (QCP), that claims that any condition whatsoever is satisfied by some object in some world. Recently, Everett (The nonexistent, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2013, 169, p. 36) has proposed an argument against QCP that, if successful, gives rise to problems (...)
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  • Constructivism, Intersubjectivity, Provability, and Triviality.Andrea Guardo - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (4):515-527.
    Sharon Street defines her constructivism about practical reasons as the view that whether something is a reason to do a certain thing for a given agent depends on that agent’s normative point of view. However, Street has also maintained that there is a judgment about practical reasons which is true relative to every possible normative point of view, namely constructivism itself. I show that the latter thesis is inconsistent with Street’s own constructivism about epistemic reasons and discuss some consequences of (...)
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  • The Myth of the Taken: Why Hegel Is Not a Conceptualist.W. Clark Wolf - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (3):399-421.
    ABSTRACTThe close connection often cited between Hegel and Wilfrid Sellars is not only said to lie in their common negative challenges to the ‘framework of givenness,’ but also in the positive less...
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  • Indexical Relativism Versus Genuine Relativism.Max Kölbel - 2004 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 12 (3):297 – 313.
    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.
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  • Demonstrative Concepts and Experience.Sean Dorrance Kelly - 2001 - Philosophical Review 110 (3):397-420.
    A number of authors have argued recently that the content of perceptual experience can, and even must, be characterized in conceptual terms. Their claim, more precisely, is that every perceptual experience is such that, of necessity, its content is constituted entirely by concepts possessed by the subject having the experience. This is a surprising result. For it seems reasonable to think that a subject’s experiences could be richer and more fine-grained than his conceptual repertoire; that a subject might be able, (...)
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  • Oratio Obliqua, Oratio Recta: An Essay on Metarepresentation.Tomis Kapitan - 2002 - Philosophical Review 111 (3):459-462.
    François Recanati describes a metarepresentation as a representation of linguistic and mental representations. Two levels of content are involved, that of a metarepresentation dS, and that of the object representation S. According to Recanati’s “iconicity thesis,” dS contains S semantically as well as syntactically, so that one cannot entertain dS without also entertaining S. Iconicity “suggests” the doctrine of semantic innocence, whereby an embedded object-representation has the same content it would have when uttered in isolation—its “normal” semantic value—and one of (...)
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  • Logical Properties: Identity, Existence, Predication, Necessity, Truth.John McFarlane - 2002 - Philosophical Review 111 (3):462-465.
    The aim of this short book is to discuss the traditional topics of philosophical logic without the “formalistic fetishism and scholasticism” that McGinn associates with recent work in the field. The writing is indeed crisp, engaging, and free of formalisms. The book consists of five separate essays—one each on identity, existence, predication, necessity, and truth—loosely united by the general theme that these “logical properties” are real and irreducible. “These concepts,” McGinn says, “form a conceptual bedrock; they stand, as it were, (...)
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  • Understanding Belief Reports.David Braun - 1998 - Philosophical Review 107 (4):555-595.
    In this paper, I defend a well-known theory of belief reports from an important objection. The theory is Russellianism, sometimes also called `neo-Russellianism', `Millianism', `the direct reference theory', `the "Fido"-Fido theory', or `the naive theory'. The objection concernssubstitution of co-referring names in belief sentences. Russellianism implies that any two belief sentences, that differ only in containing distinct co-referring names, express the same proposition (in any given context). Since `Hesperus' and `Phosphorus' both refer to the planet Venus, this view implies that (...)
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  • Reviving the Parameter Revolution in Semantics.Bryan Pickel, Brian Rabern & Josh Dever - 2018 - In Derek Ball & Brian Rabern (eds.), The Science of Meaning. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 138-171.
    Montague and Kaplan began a revolution in semantics, which promised to explain how a univocal expression could make distinct truth-conditional contributions in its various occurrences. The idea was to treat context as a parameter at which a sentence is semantically evaluated. But the revolution has stalled. One salient problem comes from recurring demonstratives: "He is tall and he is not tall". For the sentence to be true at a context, each occurrence of the demonstrative must make a different truth-conditional contribution. (...)
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  • Presupposition.David I. Beaver - 1997 - In Johan van Bentham & Alice ter Meulen (eds.), Handbook of Logic and Language. MIT Press.
    We discuss presupposition, the phenomenon whereby speakers mark linguistically the information that is presupposed or taken for granted, rather than being part of the main propositional content of a speech act. Expressions and constructions carrying presuppositions are called “presupposition triggers”, forming a large class including definites and factive verbs. The article first introduces the range of triggers, the basic properties of presuppositions such as projection and cancellability, and the diagnostic tests used to identify them. The reader is then introducedto major (...)
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  • Credence for Epistemic Discourse.Paolo Santorio - manuscript
    Many recent theories of epistemic discourse exploit an informational notion of consequence, i.e. a notion that defines entailment as preservation of support by an information state. This paper investigates how informational consequence fits with probabilistic reasoning. I raise two problems. First, all informational inferences that are not also classical inferences are, intuitively, probabilistically invalid. Second, all these inferences can be exploited, in a systematic way, to generate triviality results. The informational theorist is left with two options, both of them radical: (...)
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  • Lying and Misleading in Discourse.Andreas Stokke - 2016 - Philosophical Review 125 (1):83-134.
    This essay argues that the distinction between lying and misleading while not lying is sensitive to discourse structure. It shows that whether an utterance is a lie or is merely misleading sometimes depends on the topic of conversation, represented by so-called questions under discussion. It argues that to mislead is to disrupt the pursuit of the goal of inquiry—that is, to discover how things are. Lying is seen as a special case requiring assertion of disbelieved information, where assertion is characterized (...)
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  • Reply to Hawthorne.Herman Cappelen & Ernie Lepore - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (2).
    In Chapter 7 of IS we rely crucially on tests for how speakers share content across contexts. We claim these tests can be used to gather evidence both for and against claims about an expression being context sensitive. Many philosophers now rely on these and related tests – Hawthorne (2003) being early proponent (cf. also Egan, Hawthorne and Weatherson (2004), Lasersohn (2006), Macfarlane (2004), Richard (2004), and (arguably) Stanley (2005)). In his reply, Hawthorne raises interesting challenges to our use of (...)
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  • Replies. [REVIEW]Herman Cappelen & Ernie Lepore - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (2):469–492.
    Symposium on Insensitive Semantics. Replies to Kent Bach, John Hawthorne, Kepa Korta and John Perry, and Robert J. Stainton.
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  • On the Dynamics of Conversation.Daniel Rothschild & Seth Yalcin - 2017 - Noûs 51 (2):24-48.
    There is a longstanding debate in the literature about static versus dynamic approaches to meaning and conversation. A formal result due to van Benthem is often thought to be important for understanding what, conceptually speaking, is at issue in the debate. We introduce the concept of a conversation system, and we use it to clarify the import of van Benthem's result. We then distinguish two classes of conversation systems, corresponding to two concepts of staticness. The first class corresponds to a (...)
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  • Reply to Lasersohn, MacFarlane, and Richard. [REVIEW]Herman Cappelen & John Hawthorne - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 156 (3):417-419.
    Reply to Lasersohn, MacFarlane, and Richard.
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  • In Defense of Happiness: Presidential Address to the Florida Philosophical Association.Shelley M. Park - 2005 - Florida Philosophical Review 5 (1):1-15.
    In this address, I defend happiness as a disposition conducive to, or at least compatible with, a view of the world that is both cognitively and politically valuable, that is, both conducive to truth and ethically appropriate.
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  • A Tall Tale: In Defense of Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism.Herman Cappelen & Ernest Lepore - 2004 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34 (sup1):2-28.
    In Insensitive Semantics (2004), we argue for two theses – Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism. In this paper, we outline our defense against two objections often raised against Semantic Minimalism. We begin with five stage-setting sections. These lead to the first objection, viz., that it might follow from our view that comparative adjectives are context insensitive. We defend our view against that objection (not, as you might expect, by denying that implication, but by endorsing it). Having done so, we (...)
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  • Towards a Pluralist Theory of Singular Thought.Michele Palmira - 2018 - Synthese 195 (9):3947-3974.
    This paper investigates the question of how to correctly capture the scope of singular thinking. The first part of the paper identifies a scope problem for the dominant view of singular thought maintaining that, in order for a thinker to have a singular thought about an object o, the thinker has to bear a special epistemic relation to o. The scope problem has it is that this view cannot make sense of the singularity of our thoughts about objects to which (...)
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  • Meaning Relativism and Subjective Idealism.Andrea Guardo - 2020 - Synthese 197 (9):4047-4064.
    The paper discusses an objection, put forward by - among others - John McDowell, to Kripke’s Wittgenstein’s non-factualist and relativist view of semantic discourse. The objection goes roughly as follows: while it is usually possible to be a relativist about a given domain of discourse without being a relativist about anything else, relativism about semantic discourse entails global relativism, which in turn entails subjective idealism, which we can reasonably assume to be false. The paper’s first section sketches Kripke’s Wittgenstein’s ideas (...)
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  • On the Singularity of Descriptive Files.Mayank Bora - 2019 - Journal of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research 36 (1):71-95.
    Jeshion believes that singular thought is implemented by the tokening of mental files. She also believes that an individual’s being significant to the agent is necessary and sufficient for the agent’s having singular thought about the individual. Goodman :437–461, 2016a, Philos Q 66:236–260, 2016b) argues that mental files created under a description lead to descriptive not singular thought. She uses this to criticize Cognitivism’s sufficiency claim and MFC. I show that this criticism rests on a faulty conception of the singular (...)
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  • No Longer True.Luca Barlassina & Fabio Del Prete - manuscript
    There are sentences that express the same temporally fully specified proposition at all contexts--call them 'context-insensitive, temporally specific sentences.' Sentence (1) 'Obama was born in 1961' is a case in point: at all contexts, it expresses the proposition ascribing to the year 1961 the property of being a time in which Obama was born. Suppose that someone uttered (1) in a context located on Christmas 2000 in our world. In this context, (1) is a true sentence about the past. Moreover, (...)
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  • Singular Reference in Fictional Discourse?Manuel García-Carpintero - 2019 - Disputatio 11 (54):143-177.
    Singular terms used in fictions for fictional characters raise well-known philosophical issues, explored in depth in the literature. But philosophers typically assume that names already in use to refer to “moderatesized specimens of dry goods” cause no special problem when occurring in fictions, behaving there as they ordinarily do in straightforward assertions. In this paper I continue a debate with Stacie Friend, arguing against this for the exceptionalist view that names of real entities in fictional discourse don’t work there as (...)
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  • Are There Emprical Cases of Indeterminacy or Translation?Rogério Passos Severo - 2014 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 89 (1):135-152.
    Quine's writings on indeterminacy of translation are mostly abstract and theoretical; his reasons for the thesis are not based on historical cases of translation but on general considerations about how language works. So it is no surprise that a common objection to the thesis asserts that it is not backed up by any positive empirical evidence. Ian Hacking (1981 and 2002) claims that whatever credibility the thesis does enjoy comes rather from alleged (fictitious) cases of radical mistranslation. This paper responds (...)
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  • Communication and Indifference.Martín Abreu Zavaleta - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    The propositional view of communication states that every literal assertoric utterance of an indicative sentence expresses a proposition, and the audience understands those utterances only if she entertains the proposition(s) the speaker expressed. According to an important objection due to Ray Buchanan, the propositional view is ill‐equipped to handle meaning underdeterminacy. Using resources from situation semantics and MacFarlane's nonindexical contextualism, this article develops a view of literal communication close to the propositional view which overcomes Buchanan's underdeterminacy considerations while accounting for (...)
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  • Mental Graphs.James Pryor - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (2):309-341.
    I argue that Frege Problems in thought are best modeled using graph-theoretic machinery; and that these problems can arise even when subjects associate all the same qualitative properties to the object they’re thinking of twice. I compare the proposed treatment to similar ideas by Heck, Ninan, Recanati, Kamp and Asher, Fodor, and others.
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  • Indexicals and Reference‐Shifting: Towards a Pragmatic Approach.Jonas Åkerman - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (1):117-152.
    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 (...)
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  • The Nature of Content: A Critique of Yli-Vakkuri and Hawthorne.Sarah Sawyer - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    This is a contribution to the symposium on Yli-Vakkuri and Hawthorne's book, Narrow Content. I argue that the unified treatment of thought content advocated by Yli-Vakkuri and Hawthorne fails to capture the distinctively mental aspects of indexical thought and that the kinds of indexical examples to which Yli-Vakkuri and Hawthorne appeal can tell us nothing very interesting about mental states as such.
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  • Quantifier Variance.Eli Hirsch & Jared Warren - 2019 - In The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Relativism. New York: pp. 349-357.
    Quantifier variance is a well-known view in contemporary metaontology, but it remains very widely misunderstood by critics. Here we briefly and clearly explain the metasemantics of quantifier variance and distinguish between modest and strong forms of variance (Section I), explain some key applications (Section II), clear up some misunderstandings and address objections (Section III), and point the way toward future directions of quantifier-variance-related research (Section IV).
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  • Perspectival Self-Consciousness and Ego-Dissolution.Miguel Angel Sebastian - 2020 - Philosophy and the Mind Sciences 1 (I):1-27.
    It is often claimed that a minimal form of self-awareness is constitutive of our conscious experience. Some have considered that such a claim is plausible for our ordinary experiences but false when considered unrestrictedly on the basis of the empirical evidence from altered states. In this paper I want to reject such a reasoning. This requires, first, a proper understanding of a minimal form of self-awareness – one that makes it plausible that minimal self-awareness is part of our ordinary experiences. (...)
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  • Cotard Syndrome, Self-Awareness, and I-Concepts.Rocco Joseph Gennaro - 2020 - Philosophy and the Mind Sciences 1 (1):1-20.
    Various psychopathologies of self-awareness, such as somatoparaphrenia and thought insertion in schizophrenia, might seem to threaten the viability of the higher-order thought (HOT) theory of consciousness since it requires a HOT about one’s own mental state to accompany every conscious state. The HOT theory of consciousness says that what makes a mental state a conscious mental state is that there is a HOT to the effect that “I am in mental state M.” I have argued in previous work that a (...)
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  • Narrow Content, by Juhani Yli-Vakkuri and John Hawthorne. [REVIEW]Sarah Sawyer - 2019 - Mind 128 (511):976-984.
    This is an extended review of Juhani Yli-Vakkuri & John Hawthorne's book: Narrow Content (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018)..
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  • Slurs and Register: A Case Study in Meaning Pluralism.Justina Diaz‐Legaspe, Chang Liu & Robert J. Stainton - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (2):156-182.
    Most theories of slurs fall into one of two families: those which understand slurring terms to involve special descriptive/informational content (however conveyed), and those which understand them to encode special emotive/expressive content. Our view is that both offer essential insights, but that part of what sets slurs apart is use-theoretic content. In particular, we urge that slurring words belong at the intersection of a number of categories in a sociolinguistic register taxonomy, one that usually includes [+slang] and [+vulgar] and always (...)
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  • De Se Attitudes and Computation.Neil Hamilton Fairley - forthcoming - Theoria.
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  • Deep Platonism.Chad Carmichael - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (2):307-328.
    According to the traditional bundle theory, particulars are bundles of compresent universals. I think we should reject the bundle theory for a variety of reasons. But I will argue for the thesis at the core of the bundle theory: that all the facts about particulars are grounded in facts about universals. I begin by showing how to meet the main objection to this thesis (which is also the main objection to the bundle theory): that it is inconsistent with the possibility (...)
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  • An Expressivist Interpretation of Kant's “I Think” 1.Wolfgang Freitag & Katharina Kraus - forthcoming - Noûs.
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  • The Utility of Content-Relativism.Paula Sweeney - 2014 - Dialectica 68 (4):563-579.
    Content- relativism is a semantic theory that states that the content of an uttered sentence can vary according to some feature of an assessment context. This paper has two objectives. The first is to determine which features a motivational case for content- relativism would display – what would a good case for content- relativism look like? The second is to consider cases that appear to have the required features and evaluate their prospects as motivational cases. I identify two varieties of (...)
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  • There is No Puzzle About Change.Pablo Rychter - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (1):7-22.
    This paper argues against the common practice of presenting perdurantism, endurantism, and other views about persistence and time as solutions to an alleged puzzle about change. Various recent attempts to generate a puzzle about change are examined and found unsuccessful. This does not mean, however, that the relevant views about persistence and time are not well motivated, but rather that their interest and purpose is independent of their suitability for solving the alleged puzzle.
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  • I Am Not Now, nor Have I Ever Been, a Turnip.Josh Parsons - 2005 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (1):1 – 14.
    This paper considers how to put together two popular ideas in the philosophy of time: detenserism and perdurantism (the view that objects persist through time by having temporal parts. On the most obvious way of doing this, certain problems arise. I argue that to deal with these problems we need a tool that is unfamiliar to most detensers and perdurantists - the distinction between sortal and non-sortal predicates.
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  • Self-Made People.David Mark Kovacs - 2016 - Mind 125 (500):1071-1099.
    The Problem of Overlappers is a puzzle about what makes it the case, and how we can know, that we have the parts we intuitively think we have. In this paper, I develop and motivate an overlooked solution to this puzzle. According to what I call the self-making view it is within our power to decide what we refer to with the personal pronoun ‘I’, so the truth of most of our beliefs about our parts is ensured by the very (...)
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  • A Contextualist Defence of the Material Account of Indicative Conditionals.Matheus Silva - manuscript
    The material account of indicative conditionals faces a legion of counterexamples that are the bread and butter in any entry about the subject. For this reason, the material account is widely unpopular among conditional experts. I will argue that this consensus was not built on solid foundations, since these counterexamples are contextual fallacies. They ignore a basic tenet of semantics according to which when evaluating arguments for validity we need to maintain the context constant, otherwise any argumentative form can be (...)
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  • Utterances, Sub‐Utterances and Token‐Reflexivity.Tadeusz Ciecierski - 2020 - Theoria 86 (4):439-462.
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  • Antirealist Essentialism.Jonathan Livingstone-Banks - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Leeds
    This project is an investigation into the prospects for an antirealist theory of essence. Essentialism is the claim that at least some things have some of their properties essentially. Essentialist discourse includes claims such as “Socrates is essentially human”, and “Socrates is accidentally bearded”. Historically, there are two ways of interpreting essentialist discourse. I call these positions ‘modal essentialism’ and ‘neo-Aristotelian essentialism’. According to modal essentialism, for Socrates to be essentially human is for it to be necessary that he be (...)
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  • Coordinating Perspectives: De Se and Taste Attitudes in Communication.Dirk Kindermann - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (8):912-955.
    ABSTRACT. The received picture of linguistic communication understands communication as the transmission of information from speaker's head to hearer's head. This picture is in conflict with the attractive Lewisian view of belief as self-location, which is motivated by de se attitudes – first-personal attitudes about oneself – as well as attitudes about subjective matters such as personal taste. In this paper, I provide a solution to the conflict that reconciles these views. I argue for an account of mental attitudes and (...)
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  • Naive Russellians and Schiffer’s Puzzle.Stefan Rinner - 2020 - Erkenntnis:1-20.
    Neo-Russellians like Salmon and Braun hold that: the semantic contents of sentences are structured propositions whose basic components are objects and properties, names are directly referential terms, and a sentence of the form ‘n believes that S’ is true in a context c iff the referent of the name n in c believes the proposition expressed by S in c. This is sometimes referred to as ‘the Naive Russellian theory’. In this talk, I will discuss the Naive Russellian theory primarily (...)
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  • Critical Pragmatics. [REVIEW]Peter Pagin - 2014 - Philosophical Review 123 (3):371-374.
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  • SINGULARISM about Episodic Memory.Nikola Andonovski - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (2):335-365.
    In the philosophy of memory, singularism is the view that episodic memories are singular mental states about unique personally experienced past events. In this paper, I present an empirical challenge to singularism. I examine three distinct lines of evidence from the psychology of memory, concerning general event memories, the transformation of memory traces and the minimized role temporal information plays in major psychological theories of episodic memory. I argue that singularist views will have a hard time accommodating this evidence, facing (...)
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