<b>Historical Background</b>

Maximilian de Gaynesford

in I: The Meaning of the First Person Term

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780199287826
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603570 | DOI:
 Historical Background

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The historical development towards the current standard account of I as a ‘pure indexical’ (‘purism’) has two main features. First, the gradual acquisition of a logical apparatus which can distinguish genuine from non-singular referring expressions, and categorize the latter into names, descriptive terms, indexicals, and so on. Second, the development and acceptance of three supposed doctrines: that a simple rule is sufficient to give the meaning of I (‘rule theory’); that one can use I to express thoughts without having to identify what is being referred to (‘independence’); and that as a matter of the meaning of I, any use of the term is logically guaranteed against failure to refer (‘the guarantee’).

Keywords: indexicals; logical apparatus; singular referring expression; names; descriptive terms; rule theory; independence; the guarantee; Descartes; Kant

Chapter.  9766 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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