The Philosophy of David Kaplan

By Joseph Almog; Paolo Leonardi | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 11
Directing Intentions

John Perry


1. INTRODUCTION

In his monograph Demonstratives,1 David Kaplan distinguishes between pure indexicals such as “I,” “here,” and “now” and true demonstratives such as “this,” “that,” “he,” and “she” (in some of their uses). The whole set of context-sensitive expressions are officially called “indexicals;” the title of the monograph was chosen for historical reasons. I will use “demonstrative” here to mean true demonstratives and “indexicals” to mean pure indexicals.

Kaplan gives us four theories of demonstratives, three in Demonstratives and a fourth in “After thoughts.” In Demonstratives we find the Fregean Theory, which Kaplan thinks is wrong, the Indexical Theory, which he thinks is not so much wrong as a “mean thing” (528), and the Corrected Fregean Theory, which he advocates there. In “Afterthoughts,” he replaces the Corrected Fregean Theory with the Directing Intentions Theory, or at least is strongly inclined to do so. (I don’t think he officially gives his final theory a name, but that is the name I will use.)

It’s clear from this that Kaplan finds demonstratives puzzling. He offers only one theory of indexicals; once the right distinctions are made, the facts about the semantics of indexicals are “obvious and incontrovertible.” Clearly the case is otherwise with demonstratives. He says at the end of his discussion in “After thoughts”: “There is something I’m not understanding here, and it may be something very fundamental about the subject matter of logic” (590).

1. David Kaplan, Demonstratives, in Joseph Almog, John Perry, and Howard Wettstein, eds., Themes from Kaplan (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 481–564; subsequent references to “Demonstratives” are given in parentheses.

2. David Kaplan, “After thoughts,” in Joseph Almog, John Perry, and Howard Wettstein, eds., Themes from Kaplan (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 565–614; subsequent references to “After thoughts” are given in parentheses.

-187-

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