Why Semantic Unspecificity is not Indexicality

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Abstract
In this paper, I address the idea that certain sentences suffer from what is generally called semantic unspecificity: their meaning is determinate, but their truth conditions are not. While there tends to be agreement on the idea that semantic unspecificity differs from phenomena such as ambiguity and vagueness, some theorists have defended an account which traces it to indexicality, broadly construed. Some authors have tried to vindicate the distinction between unspecificity and indexicality and, in this paper, I pursue the same cause, but with a critical stance towards previously employed strategies. I urge that the central argument employed by Sainsbury to trace this difference fails suitably to set unspecificity apart from indexicality and I propose a new argument, which helps to trace this distinction more perspicuously. The argument is based on embeddings of indexical and unspecific expressions within modal operators and on the ways in which the truth conditions of utterances of the resulting, complex expressions are thereby affected
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Archival date: 2015-10-25
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References found in this work BETA
Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and Other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
Literal Meaning.Recanati, Fran├žois

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2015-04-12

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