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Relativized propositions (draft 2)

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  • [Scco:Cogdynamics] Cognitive Science/Cognitive Dynamics
  • [Scco:Cogdynamics] Science Cognitive/Dynamique Cognitive
  • [Shs:Langue:Semantics] Humanities And Social Sciences/Linguistics/Semantics
  • [Shs:Langue:Semantics] Sciences De L'Homme Et Société/Linguistique/Sémantique
  • [Shs:Phil:Language] Humanities And Social Sciences/Philosophy/Philosophy Of Language
  • [Shs:Phil:Language] Sciences De L'Homme Et Société/Philosophie/Philosophie Du Langage
  • [Shs:Phil:Mind] Humanities And Social Sciences/Philosophy/Philosophy Of Mind
  • [Shs:Phil:Mind] Sciences De L'Homme Et Société/Philosophie/Philosophie De L'Esprit
  • Linguistics


II 1 RELATIVIZED PROPOSITIONS François Recanati Institut Jean Nicod, CNRS [email protected] Forthcoming in M. O’Rourke and C. Washington (eds.) Situating Semantics : Essays on the Philosophy of John Perry. Cambridge, Mass : MIT Press/Bradford Books. I. Introduction The essential indexical In The Logical Syntax of Language, Carnap said he was dealing "only with languages which contain no expressions dependent upon extra-linguistic factors" (Carnap 1937 : 168). Carnap’s disciple Bar-Hillel lamented that this "restricts highly the immediate applicability" of Carnap's views to natural languages since "the overwhelming majority of the sentences in these languages are indexical, i.e. dependent upon extra-linguistic factors" (Bar-Hillel 1963 : 123). Bar-Hillel ventured the hypothesis that "more than 90 per cent of the declarative sentence-tokens we produce during our life-time are indexical sentences and not statements" (Bar-Hillel 1954 : 76 ; a 'statement', in his terminology, is a sentence that expresses the same proposition whichever context it occurs in). Despite his emphasis on the pervasiveness of indexicality, Bar-Hillel accepted that "a judgment [i.e. an ordered pair consisting of a sentence and a context] with an indexical sentence as first component can always, without loss of information, be transformed into a judgment with a statement as a first component, keeping the 2 second component intact" (Bar-Hillel 1954 : 76). Thus if, in context c, John says 'I am hungry' and thereby expresses the proposition that John is hungry at t (the time of c), he can express the same proposition in the same context by uttering "John is hungry at t". Bar-Hillel follows Carnap here: The logical character of [nonindexical sentences] is... invariant in relation to spatio-temporal displacements; two sentences of the same wording will have the same character independent

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