The Essential Contextual

Robert Stalnaker

in Assertion

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199573004
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595127 | DOI:
The Essential Contextual

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Standard accounts of self-locating or essentially indexical knowledge and belief (such as that of David Lewis) make it difficult to understand the communication of self-locating information. But even the amnesiacs who populate the examples in the literature on this issue can talk with others about who they are or might be, and a general account of discourse should be able to account for this kind of communicative exchange. This chapter proposes a modification of Lewis's “centered-worlds” representations of self-locating attitudes that provides an account of common ground (the presumed common knowledge of speakers in a conversation) that is general enough to provide a context for the communication of information about who and where we are. The chapter concludes with an analysis, using the framework developed, of a notorious puzzle case that involves indexical communication: Mark Richard's phone booth example.

Keywords: context; indexical knowledge; amnesiacs; indexical communication; common ground

Chapter.  7742 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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