Quasi‐Indexicals and Knowledge Reports

Cognitive Science 21 (1):63-107 (1997)
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Abstract

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.

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William J. Rapaport
State University of New York, Buffalo

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