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2.4b. Indexical Contents (Indexical Contents on PhilPapers)

Bach, Kent, Content, indexical.   (Google)
Abstract: it is red. What enables this thought to latch onto that particular object? It cannot be how the Ferrari looks, for this could not distinguish one Ferrari from another just like it. In general, how a thought represents something cannot determine which thing it represents. What a singular thought latches onto seems to depend also on features of the context in which the thought occurs. This suggests that its content is essentially indexical, contextually variable much as the content of an utterance like 'I am hungry' depends on who utters it and when (see DEMONSTRATIVES AND INDEXICALS ). The indexical model of singular thought is not limited to thoughts about individuals one perceives, like the Ferrari driving by, but applies also to thoughts about individuals one remembers or has been informed of, like an old bicycle or Christopher Columbus. In each case, a certain contextual relation, based on perception, memory, or communication, connects thought to object
Egan, Andy (ms). De gustibus non disputandum est (at least, not always).   (Google)
Castañeda, Hector-Neri (1967). Omniscience and indexical reference. Journal of Philosophy 64 (7):203-210.   (Google | More links)
Chien, A. J. (1985). Demonstratives and belief states. Philosophical Studies 47 (2).   (Google)
Corazza, Eros (2004). Essential indexicals and quasi-indicators. Journal of Semantics 21 (4):341-374.   (Google)
Abstract: In this paper I shall focus on Castaneda's notion of quasi-indicators and I shall defend the following theses: (i) Essential indexicals (‘I’, ‘here’ and ‘now’) are intrinsically perspectival mechanisms of reference and, as such, they are not reducible to any other mechanism reference...
Harcourt, Edward (1999). Frege on 'I', 'now', 'today' and some other linguistic devices. Synthese 121 (3).   (Google)
Abstract:   In this paper, I argue against an influential view of Frege''s writings on indexical and other context-sensitive expressions, and in favour of an alternative. The centrepiece of the influential view, due to (among others) Evans and McDowell, is that according to Frege, context-sensitiveword-meaning plus context combine to express senses which are essentially first person, essentially present tense and so on, depending on the context-sensitive expression in question. Frege''s treatment of indexicals thus fits smoothly with his Intuitive Criterion of difference of sense. On my view, by contrast, Frege stuck by the view which he held in his unpublished 1897 Logic, namely that the senses expressed by the combination of context-sensitive word-meaning and context could just as well be expressed by means of non-context-sensitive expressions: being first person, present tense and so on are properties, in Frege''s view, only of language, not of thought. Given the irreducibility of indexicals – a phenomenon noticed by Castañeda, Perry and others – Frege''s treatment of indexicals thus turns out to be inconsistent with the Intuitive Criterion. I argue that Frege was not aware of the inconsistency because he was not aware of the irreducibility of indexicals. This oversight was possible because the source of Frege''s interest in indexicals, as inother context-sensitive expressions, differed from that of contemporary theorists. Whereas contemporary theorists are most often interested in indexicals (and in Frege''s treatment of them) because they are interested in the indexical versions of Frege''s Puzzle and their relation to psychological explanation, Frege himself was interested in them because they pose a prima facie threat to his general conception of thoughts. The only indexical expression Frege''s view of which the above account does not cover is I insofar as it is associated with special and primitive senses, but Frege did not introduce such senses with a view to explaining theirreducibility of I his real reason for introducing them remains obscure
Kapitan, Tomis (1999). Quasi-indexical attitudes. Sorites 11:24-40.   (Google)
Abstract: Indexicals are inevitably autobiographical, even when we are not talking about ourselves. For example, if you hear me say, "That portrait right there is beautiful," you can surmise not only that I ascribe beauty to an object of my immediate awareness but also something about my spatial relation to it. Again, if I praise you directly within earshot of others by using the words, "You did that very well!," my concern need not be to cause them to think the exact thought I have; they might not be in a position to address you as you and I might not care what they think of your performance. My purpose is to get them to ascribe to me an attitude that I express with a second-person indexical, to convince them that I am an encouraging and supportive person inasmuch as I addressed someone with words of praise. Indexicals are autobiographical not only because they issue from a speaker--all utterances do--but because they reveal something about the speaker's orientation toward and encounter with objects in a way that non-indexical language fails to do. For this reason, care must be taken in reporting indexically-expressed thoughts. Suppose the Chair of my Department informs me, (1)I am upset about the Dean's report. I cannot relate what he said by reiterating his words within indirect discourse, viz., (2)The Chair said that I am upset about the Dean's report. Because 'I' expresses speaker's reference, my assertion of (2) would cause a hearer to misconstrue who is said to be upset.i Alternatively, the sentence, (3)The Chair said that the Chair is upset about the Dean's report
Matthen, Mohan (2010). Is memory preservation? Philosophical Studies 148 (1).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: I want to know whether I consumed the Canada Health recommended portion of fruits and vegetables yesterday. I try to remember, and I conclude that I ate five servings of fruits and vegetables during the course of the day. Presumably, propositions like the following figure in my calculations: 1. For lunch yesterday, I ate a grilled tomato with my hamburger. Usually, the remembered image of eating the tomato will figure in the provenance of remembering 1
Perry, John (ms). Self-notions.   (Google)
Abstract: ”Self-beliefs” are beliefs of the sort one ordinarily has about oneself, and expresses with the first person. These contrast with the beliefs one has in ”Casta˜neda cases,” in which one has a belief about oneself without knowing it. This paper advances an account of the nature of self-belief. According to this account, self-belief is a special case of interacting with things via notions that serve as repositories for information about objects with certain important relations to the knower, and as motivators for actions the success of which is dependent on the object in that relation to the agent. Identity is such a relation, and ”self-notions” play this special role: they are the repositories for information gained in normally self-informative ways, and the motivators of types of action whose success normally depends on facts about the agent. Self-beliefs involve such self-notions, while the beliefs that one has about oneself in Casta˜neda cases do not
Perry, John (1979). The problem of the essential indexical. Noûs 13 (December):3-21.   (Cited by 4 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Perry, John (1993). The Problem of the Essential Indexical: And Other Essays. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Abstract: A collection of twelve essays by John Perry and two essays he co-authored, this book deals with various problems related to "self-locating beliefs": the sorts of beliefs one expresses with indexicals and demonstratives, like "I" and "this." Postscripts have been added to a number of the essays discussing criticisms by authors such as Gareth Evans and Robert Stalnaker. Included with such well-known essays as "Frege on Demonstratives," "The Problem of the Essential Indexical," "From Worlds to Situations," and "The Prince and the Phone Booth" are a number of important essays that have been less accessible and that discuss important aspects of Perry's views, referred to as "Critical Referentialism," on the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind
Spencer, Cara (ms). Is there a problem of the essential indexical?   (Google)
Abstract: Some time ago, John Perry argued that the content of an indexical belief, that is, a belief expressible with a sentence containing an indexical or demonstrative, cannot be a proposition. I consider several of his arguments for this view, and show that they can be extended to show that belief expressible with other non-indexical expressions such as natural kind terms and proper names presents the very same problem for the traditional picture. I then suggest that if indexical belief has any special status, this is not because it has a special kind of content, but rather because action is impossible if agents do not have indexical belief
Spencer, Cara (ms). Shared indexical belief.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: In this paper, I take issue with the familiar view that the problem of the essential indexical is a merely technical problem, which can be solved through a straightforward revision of the familiar model of belief content. (The familiar model just says that the content of belief is a proposition.) I do not object to these technical fixes, but I think they leave some questions unanswered. Specifically, they deny us an attractive account of what it is for different people to completely agree on their conception of what the world is like, according to which complete agreement consists in having beliefs with the same propositional content, but they do not give us anything to replace it with. Here, I consider whether we can say anything general about the relation between my beliefs and your beliefs (including, of course, our indexical beliefs), when you and I completely agree about what the world is like
Zong, Desheng (forthcoming). Retention of Indexical Belief and the Notion of Psychological Continuity. The Philosophical Quarterly.   (Google)
Abstract: A widely accepted view in the discussion of personal identity is that the notion of psychological continuity expresses a one-many or many-one relation. I argue that the belief is unfounded. Briefly: a notion of psychological continuity expresses a one-many or many-one relation only if it includes as a constituent psychological properties whose relation with their bearer is one-many or many-one; but the relation between an indexical psychological state (a psychological state with indexical content) and its bearer in which it is first tokened is not a one-many or many-one relation. It follows that not all types of psychological continuity may take a one-many or many-one form. Since the Lockean account of personal identity relies on the availability of a notion of psychological continuity featuring indexical psychological states, the conclusion of this paper cast strong doubt on the plausibility of the Lockean theory.