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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Kaplan does not take the objects of semantic evaluation to be utterances or tokens. Objections to Utterance-based Theories The theories of Reichenbach and Demonstrativrs and probably Russell as well are clear cases of what was called, in the kapoan to this section, utterance-based semantic theories of indexicals. Thus, any philosopher or linguist who wants to defend an ambiguity theory of this sort has to argue that the ambiguity is well-motivated, and not simply a response to recalcitrant examples.

Given the disagreements about the context-sensitivity of various expressions, one might wonder whether there is a reliable test for context-sensitivity. When Truth Gives OutOxford: Burks calls this full meaning of a token of an indexical expression the indexical meaning of the token.

The content of a sentence relative to a context is a structured, Russellian proposition, whose constituents are the contents, relative to the same context, of the atomic expressions words or phrases occurring in the sentence. Again following Peirce, we will say that the tokens that Greg and Molly have each produced are instances or tokens of the same sentence type.



A singular term t denotes an object o relative to a context c and circumstance of evaluation c W determined by cif and only if t denotes o relative to c full stop. The thesis that there are directly referential singular terms is in stark contrast to the Fregean view of language, according to which the content of an expression is always a sense —a mode of presentation of an object, property, or proposition. Kaplan’s theory does not mention complex demonstratives, and it is not demonstratvies clear how demonstrarives should be integrated into a theory of demonstratives.

So the preceding description does not pick out Kapln. Instead, the content of the complex demonstrative is simply its referent. Thus this alternative theory effaces two obvious differences between 32 and The claim that natural language does not include monsters is a matter of debate in current philosophy and linguistics.

So the Russellian picture by itself does kaplxn offer any account of the meaning of 10 that remains constant across its different uses. Belief states can be classified into types by the characters of the sentences that they dispose agents to utter. Relative to any context c and possible world w[the x: Thus rather than having two occurrences of the same word or phrase, we have two different phrases altogether.

By contrast, the referent of a speaker’s utterance of he depends on the speaker’s intentions or pointing gestures. Kaplam philosophers, however, have responded by modifying the Frege-Russell view: Then sh that c is the context.

Complex Demonstratives and Their Singular Contents.

Demonstratives |

It is common to represent structured propositions using ordered n -tuples. For discussion, see chapter 2 of Soames, Beyond Rigidity.


All belief semonstratives is seemingly about other objects reduces to descriptive belief. The constituents of this proposition are Tally and the property of being a dog.

F x ] designates o relative to c[the x: Eric Swanson – manuscript. A Few Formal Details 3. Two observations are immediate here: The first is that sentences have truth values relative to contexts and worlds. Different kinds of expressions are assigned different kinds of contents relative to contexts. This is another example of a sentence that is not necessarily true, even if it is true.

Indexicals, by contrast, seem to have a single linguistic meaning that is fixed by linguistic convention, but also another sort of meaning content that varies from occasion to occasion, or context to context.

Paradigmatic indexicals behave differently from non-indexicals in attitude ascriptions. Thus, directly referential terms automatically rigidly designate the objects or individuals to which they refer. The focal demonstratum of a context is simply one member of the sequence of demonstrata.


As a result, it is unclear whether this view successfully avoids one of the central problems with gesture-based views. Using this terminology, we can say that every indexical has a single unvarying character, but may vary in content from context to context. The same problem arises for the argument 9 Ddemonstratives is Monday; therefore, today is Monday.