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Kinds of Context: A Wittgensteinian Approach to Proper Names and Indexicals

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In focusing on indexicals and proper names and on the different ways in which their references are fixed, I illustrate how our linguistic practice rests on context, broadly construed. The following theses are discussed and defended:

• There are two main kinds of information: (i) anchored information, i.e. the information one gathers in using and entertaining indexical expressions and (ii) unanchored information, i.e. the information one may gain in hearing a proper name.

• Indexical expressions differ from proper names; this difference relies on the differing ways in which extra-linguistic context enters the scene.

• The Kaplanian framework in particular, and the framework of direct reference in general, are best understood and appreciated against the background of a Wittgensteinian conception of language.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9205.2004.00220.x

Publication date: April 1, 2004

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