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12 febbraio 2018: Christopher Gauker: Against the Speaker-intention Theory of Demonstratives

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Seminars of Philosophy of Perception, Mind, and Language — Spring session, 2018


Christopher Gauker (Salzburg),

Against the Speaker-intention Theory of Demonstratives


12 febbraio 2018, h. 13.30-15.30

Sala "Enzo Paci" — Direzione del Dipartimento (Via Festa del Perdono 7, Milano)


La conferenza si terrà in inglese.

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It is commonly held that an utterance of a bare demonstrative, such as “that”, refers to an object o only if the speaker intends it to refer to o.  First, I argue that the theory is best formulated as a thesis concerning the conditions under which a formal context pertains to an utterance.  Second, I pose three objections to this theory:  It is question-begging; it is psychologically implausible; and it is inconsistent with the plausible assumption that thoughts too can contain bare demonstratives.  Finally, I sketch an alternative theory of the reference of demonstratives, according to which the reference of a demonstrative is that which is identified by an all-things-considered judgment that takes into account various accessibility criteria.

12 febbraio 2018
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