The Problem of the Essential Indexical and Other Essays / Edition 2

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No word in English is shorter than the word I.' And yet no word is more important in philosophy. When Descartes said I think therefore I am' he produced something that was both about himself and a universal formula. The word I' is called an indexical' because its meaning always depends on who says it. Other examples of indexicals are you,' here,' this' and now.'

John Perry discusses how these kinds of words work, and why they express important philosophical thoughts. He shows that indexicals pose a challenge to traditional assumptions about language and thought. Over the years a number of these papers, now included in this book, have sparked lively debates and have been influential in philosophy, linguistics and other areas of cognitive science.

With seven new papers, including the previously unpublished What Are Indexicals?,' the present volume expands on an earlier version of this book published in the early nineties. Also included are the well-known papers Frege on Demonstratives,' Cognitive Significance and New Theories of Reference,' Evading the Slingshot,' The Prince and the Phone booth' (coauthored with Mark Crimmins), Fodor on Psychological Explanations' (coauthored with David Israel), and related papers on situation semantics, direct reference, and the structure of belief. This book also includes afterwords written by the author that discuss responses to his work by Gareth Evans, Robert Stalnaker, Barbara Partee, Howard Wettstein and others.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781575862460
  • Publisher: Center for the Study of Language and Inf
  • Publication date: 8/28/2001
  • Edition description: REVISED & EXPANDED
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 428
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface to the Expanded Edition
Preface to the First Edition
1 Frege on Demonstratives 1
2 The Problem of the Essential Indexical 27
3 Belief and Acceptance 45
4 A Problem About Continued Belief 57
5 Castaneda on He and I 77
6 Perception, Action, and the Structure of Believing 101
7 From Worlds to Situations 125
8 Possible Worlds and Subject Matter 145
9 Circumstantial Attitudes and Benevolent Cognition 161
10 Thought Without Representation 171
11 Cognitive Significance and New Theories of Reference 189
12 The Prince and the Phone Booth: Reporting Puzzling Beliefs 207
13 Individuals in Informational and Intentional Content 233
14 Fodor and Psychological Explanation 253
15 Davidson's Sentences and Wittgenstein's Builders 271
16 Evading the Slingshot 287
17 Broadening the Mind 303
18 What Are Indexicals? 313
19 Myself and I 325
20 Reflexivity, Indexicality and Names 341
21 Rip Van Winkle and Other Characters 355
References 377
Index 385
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