On Making and Attributing Demonstrative Reference
Baker (Lynne Rudder)
Source: Synthese, 49:245–73, 1981
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. Demonstrative reference is the mechanism that connects us, as conscious beings, to the world we encounter. Aristotle, Kant and Hegel recognized the role of demonstrative reference as the grain of truth in empiricism; and demonstrative reference is at the heart of Descartes' Cogito. Recently, attention has been given to the significance of demonstrative reference for language and perceptual beliefs.
  2. I shall emphasize the role of demonstrative reference in our understanding of self-consciousness1. In order to think of oneself as a self who faces a world, one must be able to make demonstrative reference. In order to think of others as selves, one must be able to attribute demonstrative reference to them. Here I study both the indexical mechanism for making demonstrative reference and the quasi-indexical mechanism for attributing demonstrative reference to others. Ultimately, I connect these largely linguistic investigations to broader topics in metaphysics and the philosophy of mind.
    1. Part I is an examination and critique of several views of indicators in indirect discourse;
    2. Part II is a discussion of quasi-indexical reference;
    3. Part III is a critical assessment of the Castaneda-Hintikka debate on the irreducibility of quasi-indicators;
    4. Part IV is an argument linking the capacity to make first-person demonstrative reference to self-consciousness2.

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