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How reference works: explanatory models for indexicals, by Lawrence D. Roberts

By Lawrence D. Roberts

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Extra info for How reference works: explanatory models for indexicals, descriptions, and opacity

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25 The figure-ground model also works better for cases of (merely) apparent contradictions involving indexicals, for example: 21. That beautiful woman is not a woman. On the predicational model, (21) is analyzed as 21 A. There is one and only one beautiful woman [obviously, further descriptions have to be added here to secure uniqueness], and she is not a woman. But (21 A) is clearly self-contradictory. However, suppose that (21) is uttered at a bar that the conversers know to be frequented by transvestites.

Next page > < previous page page_43 next page > Page 43 Cause-effect relations can also be the basis for indexical reference to things which the hearer cannot perceive even though they are present in the surroundings, for example: 3. That pain will last only a minute. Suppose that a teacher of dentistry says (3) to a student: the use of that pain' directs the student's perceptual attention to the pain of the patient who is being given an injection of novocain. The student cannot perceive the actual pain of the patient, since it is the patient's pain, not hers.

And suppose he is right: you have no idea where he is calling from. Nevertheless you recognize his voice over the phone, so that you are able to discern the referent of T in (10) without making any use of the spatio-temporal location of the referent. My conclusion, then, is that complements giving the spatio-temporal location of the referent are not required, even though they are often useful, for the determination of indexical reference based on the physical surroundings. The only factors always required for the determination of such reference are the use of the indexical, which determines a ground that contains the referent, and the use of descriptive factors, which provide a figure suitable for picking out the referent.

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