SORITES, ISSN 1135-1349
Issue #11. December 1999. Pp. 24-40.
Copyright © by SORITES and Tomis Kapitan
by Tomis Kapitan
by Tomis Kapitan
Indexicals are inevitably autobiographical, even when we are not talking about ourselves. For example, if you hear me say, «That portrait right there is beautiful,» you can surmise not only that I ascribe beauty to an object of my immediate awareness but also something about my spatial relation to it. Again, if I praise you directly within earshot of others by using the words, «You did that very well!,» my concern need not be to cause them to think the exact thought I have; they might not be in a position to address you as you and I might not care what they think of your performance. My purpose is to get them to ascribe to me an attitude that I express with a second-person indexical, to convince them that I am an encouraging and supportive person inasmuch as I addressed someone with words of praise. Indexicals are autobiographical not only because they issue from a speaker -- all utterances do -- but because they reveal something about the speaker's orientation toward and encounter with objects in a way that non-indexical language fails to do.
For this reason, care must be taken in reporting indexically-expressed thoughts. Suppose the Chair of my Department informs me,
(1) I am upset about the Dean's report.
I cannot relate what he said by reiterating his words within indirect discourse, viz.,
(2) The Chair said that I am upset about the Dean's report.
Because `I' expresses speaker's reference, my assertion of (2) would cause a hearer to misconstrue who is said to be upset.Foot note 3_1 Alternatively, the sentence,
(3) The Chair said that the Chair is upset about the Dean's report.
loses the critical first-person perspective that the Chair meant to convey. If first-person reference is ineliminable, as often argued,Foot note 3_2 then our ascriptions should be sensitive to indexical usage in a way that (3) is not. One might try the oratio recta,
(4) The Chair said: I am upset about the Dean's report.
However, this is inapplicable to attitudes an attributee is not disposed to express. More importantly, to have explanatory worth a direct quotation must be supplemented by an interpretation of what the speaker meant, and this is naturally expressed through the indirect format, for instance, «In saying `I am very upset about the Dean's report' the Chair meant that...» The apparent advantages of direct discourse are illusory.
Although natural languages provide little means for perspicuous ascriptions of indexical thoughts, Castañeda pointed out that certain linguistic types lend themselves to some such use. Consider,
(5) The Chair said that he himself is upset about the Dean's report.
Here, `he himself' is used as a quasi-indicator inasumch as it represents the indexical reference the Chair expressed through `I', and by employing this reflexive pronoun, the attributor expresses his own quasi-indexical attitude. But our quasi-indexical vocabulary is sparse, and there is a problem of explaining how it succeeds in capturing another's thoughts. Indexicals, we are taught, are context-sensitive because their tokens reflect the speaker's perspective.Foot note 3_3 My this's, that's, you's, beyond's, etc. express what they do partly because they issue from a unique spatio-temporal vantage point that I happen to occupy. From your perspective, my here might be your there; my you, your she; and within my own perspective, a this differs from a that, and one there might differ from another there. How is it, then, that a distinct listener processing a speaker's indexical utterances can understand what that speaker is saying, much less convey this to a third party? How can quasi-indicators accurately depict the indexical references of others? What exactly are quasi-indicators and what is the precise content of quasi-indexical attitudes?
These questions are not mere curiosities within the philosophy of language. They have considerble practical significance. Quasi-indexical attitudes permeate social life; not only do we explain behavior by reference to the indexical thoughts of people, but many of our deepest emotional reactions are responses to our own interpretations of what others think, believe, intend, and feel, attitudes they would most likely express indexically. In criminal courts, for instance, lawyers, judges and jurors try to determine the precise intentions with which a defendent acted, yet intentions are saturated with indexical references, from the first-person thoughts about what I shall do to the demonstrative references used in guiding action, e.g., I will shoot the guard standing there.Foot note 3_4 Our respect for a person's moral character might depend upon our judgment that he or she acted from duty, precisely, what he or she took to be his or her duty -- where `his' and `her' are used to mark first-person commitments. Our empathic feelings for one who has tried and been unsuccessful, or our resentment over an undeserved triumph, involve not only our awareness of another's situation but also of the sentiments he or she might convey through «I have failed again» or, alternatively, «Veni, vidi, vici!» Such recognitions underlie our reactive attitudes -- respect, sympathy, resentment, blame -- states that are vital to our social consciousness and perhaps lacking in beings whose perceptions and communications are otherwise replete with indexicality.Foot note 3_5 Articulating their structure, and that of the quasi-indexical attitudes from which they emerge, is essential to understanding the psychology of social interaction.
2. Indexical Interpretation vs Indexical Production
(I) A token of the first-personal indexical `I' refers to the speaker or writer of the utterance in which it occurs.
whereas that of `now' is given by,
(N) A token of the temporal indexical `now' refers to the time of the utterance in which it occurs.
For example, upon hearing you say, `I am now going to throw the ball over there', my grasping the characters of `I', `now' and `there' and knowing that you uttered the sentence, when you uttered it, and what region you demonstrated, enable me to determine what your referents are.Foot note 3_7
Token-reflexive rules like (I) and (N) are fine for interpreting indexicals, but for various reasons they explain neither the psychological mechanisms underlying indexical production nor the autobiographical dimension of indexical usage. First, one does not have to identify oneself as a speaker, a writer -- much less the speaker or writer or producer of a given `I' token -- in order to produce `I' tokens and think first-person thoughts. Further, any utilization of a rule like (I) presupposes identification of an `I' token, and this can only happen subsequent to its production. Second, indexical production does not require independent identification of the referent. Demonstration, for example, can occur autonomously if I don't know how to classify something that suddenly looms into my visual field, say, other than as the thing over there or, simply, as that. Third, a token-reflexive rule like (N) reveals nothing about the speaker's involvement or encounter with the referent. It specifies how I, the hearer, can determine an interval when I hear you utter a `now' token, but it does not inform me how you picked out a time that you referred to. (N) supplies no information about how one is to apply the indexical `now' in the first place. Consequently, rules for the application or production of indexicals must differ from those guiding their interpretation.Foot note 3_8
Ruth Millikan correctly emphasizes that to interpret an indexical requires an independent means of identifying the referent, but her repudiation of essential indexicals and first-person thoughts ignores the distinction between interpretation and production. Noting that context-sensitive indexical tokens must bear a certain «indexical adapting relation» to their referents -- for example, the relation for `I' is being the producer of the token -- she argues that this relation need not be taken into account in action, nor does the indexical signify it:
...to interpret an indexical one must have prior knowledge, one must already know independently and ahead of time, what item bears the indexical's adapting relation to the indexical token. One must already know both that this referent exists and how it is related to the token, hence to the interpreter. One does not find this out by interpreting the indexical; one needs already to know it in order to interpret the indexical. For example, a token of «I» does not not tell me who the originator of that token is, that it is, say, Alvin. Rather, if I am to understand a token of «I», I must already know who the speaker is. (Millikan 1990, 727-728).
Obviously, the interpreter must have an independent means of identifying the speaker to understand a heard `I' token. But the interpreter is not the producer of that token. Millikan's account does not explain how indexical reference origniates, nor does it show that indexical tokens -- as applied by the speaker -- do not signify an «indexing relation» of token, utterance or producer to the referent. From the producer's point of view there must be some such «adapting relation» in order to use an indexical as a referential device. It underlies the mode of presentation correlated with the indexical type (see below), but because it is anchored in the speaker's perspective it is useless to the interpreter in determining the referent without added information about the context.Foot note 3_9
I conclude that the token-reflexive analysis is appropriate only to the interpretation of indexicals. It is dependent upon the antecedent production of indexical tokens, and very likely cannot even begin without the interpreter's indexical identifications of the relevant tokens. To understand quasi-indexical attributions, consequently, we must turn to their source in indexical thinking.
3. Indexicals, Indexical Modes, and Perspective
Indexical terms reflect a direct encounter with items in our experience, whether in perception, imagination, or other types of experiences. They express thinking references, that is, acts of consciously picking out some item for the purposes of thinking something about it.Foot note 3_10 All acts of thinking references occur through modes of presentation, each of which is a manner of cognizing an item with at least one being an individuating or identifying mode whereby the item is distinguished from everything else. Thinking of the Sears Tower, for example, I consider it as the tallest building in Chicago, or as that monstrous skyscraper over there, or, simply, as that. Modes are «guides» for articulating the data of conscious experience, leading many philosophers to view them as ways or manners of apprehension, thus, as properties of thinkers. But this cannot be the whole story; a mode enables one to pick something out only if there is an appropriate fit. I cannot identify something as the object there unless it is there. However, some caution is needed. If what I identify as the woman across the street is a cross-dresser, then while the mode being the woman across the street is not satisfied by that referent it implies a mode that is, say, being a person across the street. A satisfied mode corresponds to a property of the referent, and for indexical modes this is always a relational property an item has in virtue of being encountered. Being a you or a this is a status -- an indexical status -- a thing has only by being experienced in a certain way. Without it, tokens of `you' and `this' cannot serve to pick it out.
If rule (I) does not specify the productive mode that the speaker employs in making first-person reference, what other description is available? The irreducibility arguments block a simple rule of reflexivity like,
(I') A token of the first-personal indexical `I' is used by the speaker to refer to himself/herself.
Referring to oneself is necessary for a first-person use of `I' but it is not sufficient. Castañeda (1989c, 42; 1990b, 126) offered this:
(I*) A token of the first-personal indexical `I' is used by the speaker to refer to himself/herself qua self.
An explanation of the `qua self' locution is called for, but even as it stands a rule like (I*) reveals something of the mode of production that underlies use of an `I' token and that is quite distinct from the interpretive mode given by (I).Foot note 3_11
If an indexical is used referentially, then there must also be individuating indexical modes -- each a determinate of the character associated with the indexical type -- embodying not only a type of encounter but also perspective. My demonstrative in `this is beautiful' expresses my particular perspective on an item, say, the Hope diamond pictured in a magazine. I might also use `this' to refer to that very diamond which now appears as a dirty stone before me, subsequently learning, to my own surprise, what I could express by `this is this' (Burge 1977, 355). The two `this' tokens reflect a like mode of encounter but each is correlated to a distinct locale within my perspective. Thus, the indexical status a referent has in order to be picked out indexically is as much a matter of orientation as it is the thinker's cognitive encounter with the referent. The orientation-type associated with `I' is location at the perspective's point of origin while the encounter-type is one of reflexive awareness qua self. Thinking of someone as you, on the other hand, is to encounter him as an addressee located in a place distinct from the point of origin yet upon which the subject's utterance can have causal influence. A person with the same orientation may also be the object of a demonstrative encounter expressed through `he' or `she'.
Individuating indexical modes are described as follows. Let i be the position of an indexical referent X within Y's perspective p; the orientation of X is that of i-from-the-standpoint-of-p, a description with information about the relative distance of X from p's point of origin as well as direction. To accommodate dynamic indexical thoughts like This is moving fast where this retains its identity though not its spatio-temporal position, i can be conceived as an ordering of positions within p. Adding to this the encounter-type k (whether of the type I, you, it, he, there, now, and so forth) yields this schematic formula for individuating productive modes:
Orientationi,p + Confrontationk = individuating indexical mode of production
Hence, three factors are involved in analyzing individuating modes: (i) the ordering i of positions of the referent within (ii) the agent's perspective p, and (iii) the type k of encounter. Each is part of the background constituency of an indexical thought and not necessarily a separate referent. The irreducibility of indexicals is due to both orientation and encounter-type; their subjectivity is due to the uniqueness and privacy of the p factor.Foot note 3_12
4. Indexical Contents
On the «direct reference» view of indexicals, indexical status is not part of what is said and need not be taken into account in specifying the content of indexically-expressed attitudes. This view is soundly motivated when the attitudes in question are more or less stable dispositions; an agent's ways of tracking and reidentifying permanent objects of beliefs and intentions are unlikely to be indexical. However, indexical status is relevant to the contents of conscious states of thinking and reasoning (Castañeda 1989b. 126-131). Suppose I believe,
(6) I am obliged, all things considered, to give the annual Medal of Efficiency to Henry at 10 am on May 15.
Having this belief together with the intention to comply with my self-avowed obligation is not enough to explain my subsequent action of giving Henry the medal. When 10 am on May 15 comes around, I must also pick out Henry, the medal, and the time and link them to the appropriate elements in my commitment. How is this achieved? Indexically, of course. I see a medal on the table and think that This medalllion is the Medal of Efficiency; my attention is directed to the candidates seated in a row of chairs and I realize that That one is Henry; I glance at my watch and conclude that Now is 10 am or Now is the time to act. In each case, I accept observational statements of the form: i is the same as a, where i is an indexical and a is a non-indexical. By their means I infer from (6),
(7) I am obliged, all things considered, to give this medal to that man now.
and from this, the intention,
(8) I shall now give this medal to that man.
My action is explained by my acceptance of (8) and this, in turn, by my acceptance of (7) (Castañeda 1975, chp. 5). The inference from (6) to (7) could not be made if the sameness propositions I accept are of the form: a is the same as a. Were (7) the very same proposition as (6) then (6) alone should be sufficient for my inferring (8) and explaining my action. Since it is not sufficient, (7) must differ from (6), and this difference can only be in the modes associated with the referring expressions. Consequently, indexical modes are relevant to the implicational behavior of indexically expressed propositions.
This conclusion is not based solely on the role of indexicals in action. There are other intuitively acceptable inferences that can also be sanctioned. For example, if it is true that today is March 26 then it follows that tomorrow is March 27, but the latter is not implied by that George's birthday is March 26 even though George's birthday is today. One can make the same point in conditional form: the counterfactual if today were March 26 then tomorrow would be March 27 is true, but if George's birthday were March 26 then tomorrow would be March 27 is not. Again the truth-conditions of the proposition, I am presently in DeKalb County -- as thought by me -- require not merely that a certain organism identical with myself is in DeKalb County, but that this organism qua self-reflective is in DeKalb County.
If indexical modes are relevant to truth-conditions and implications, then they are internal to propositional content. If a sentence `i is F' contains a term `i' that refers to an item qua some indexical mode M, it does not follow that M is a separable component about which one thinks in thinking the proposition i is F. The indexical `i' expresses or connotes M, but M is itself neither a subject nor a predicated item in i is F. It is the unconceptualized manner through which one conceptualizes the referent of `i' and by which `i' packs the inferential potential it does. Modes are internal to propositional content because they are constitutive of propositional components.Foot note 3_13
Explaining what immediate indexical referents are is another matter. But whatever theoretical approach is followed, it must accommodate the fact that we not only make indexical references but identify indexical referents with each other and with other thinking referents. When I come to believe that Henry is that man I not accepting a trivial identity statement of the form a=a governed by Leibniz's Law, otherwise my identification would amount to my accepting nothing more than Henry is Henry or That man is that man. More is involved in preparing myself for action since I can accept these latter without being prompted to do anything. So, Henry and that man are distinct in my immediate thought, but I am affirming that they are in some sense the «same thing». Statements to the effect that a is the same as b -- henceforth abbreviated as, a&congruent;b -- are informative precisely because they are not statements of identity, rather, of an equivalence or congruence relation that falls short of identity. As with immediate indexical referents, a theoretical account of congruence awaits a deeper investigation of thinking reference.Foot note 3_14
5. Attributing Indexical Reference
Because of the perspectivity of individuating modes, a person's complete indexical content is subjective. Yet, to some extent, we can understand both what other people refer to indexically and how they refer. For one interested in attributing indexical content, the former requires an independent route to the referent, while the latter is achieved by access to generic indexical modes. Let me show how this twofold interpretive strategy can be used to clarify quasi-indexical attributions.
Besides emphasizing their use in depicting indexical references, Castañeda noted that quasi-indicators (a) occur only within the scope of psychological verbs to attribute indexical references; (b) are anaphoric pronouns which are referentially and syntactically dependent upon antecedents occuring outside the scope of those verbs; (c) are not replaceable by these antecedents salva veritate let alone salva propositione; (d) express what is interpersonal and repeatable; (e) are not themselves indexicals; and (f) express, in part, what their antecedents express. As anaphors bound by operators outside attitudinal scope they are more akin to variables than to singular referring terms.Foot note 3_15 In this respect they are like other anaphors embedded within attitudinal scope. Suppose Henry hears his colleague Robert describe another colleague, Alexander, as a fool. If, unlike Robert, Henry knows that Alexander is going to be appointed the next Provost of the university, it would be unfair of him to report,
(9) Robert thinks that the next Provost is a fool.
Not being privy to Henry's information, Robert does not think of Alexander as the next Provost. Let us say that `the next Provost' occurs externally in (9) with respect to the property of being the next Provost inasmuch as the attributor, Henry, does not assume it to express one of Robert's referential modes. A regimentation using the familiar de re format is preferable:
(10) The next Provost is such that Robert thinks that he is a fool.
What does `he' signify in this ascription? It does not appear to function as a singular term that Henry uses to pick out Robert's thinking referent. It is certainly not a pronoun of laziness if (10) differs from (9), and it is not a demonstrative designation of a thinking referent different from what Henry picks out with `The next Provost.' Instead, the relation between the antecedent and the anaphor in (10) suggests that `he' is a variable ranging over thinking referents and bound by a quantifier falling outside attitudinal scope, perhaps on the order of,
(11) (þx)(x = the next Provost and Robert thinks that x is a fool).
But this is also deficient. For one thing, the employment of the unrestricted variable `x' obliterates the fact that with `he' Henry meant to convey that Robert thought of the referent as a male. In that case `he' occurs internally with respect to the property of being a male because the attributor takes it be one of Robert's modes.Foot note 3_16 For another thing, if the very person Robert takes to be a fool is identical to the referent of `the next Provost' then (11) implies that Robert's full content is the next Provost is a fool. But then we have not advanced beyond (9).
We can circumvent these problems by two maneuvers. First, insisting that the variable ranges over thinking referents, (10) does not say that what Robert thinks to be a fool is identical to the next Provost but, rather, that it is congruent to what Henry refers to with `the next Provost'. Second, to capture Robert's gendered reference let `xM' be a complex expression composed of a variable and an internally occurring modifier expressing the attributed mode of being a male. (11) can be replaced by,
(12) (þx)(x &congruent; the next Provost and Robert thinks that xM is a fool).
Even greater economy can be achieved by letting `xp' range over all only thinking referents that are congruent to what the speaker refers to with `the next Provost', a maneuver that avoids the conjuctive construction not apparent in (10), yielding,
(13) (þxp)(Robert thinks that xMp is a fool).
Stipulating that superscripts occur internally while subscripts occur externally, then (13) shows us how `he' in (10) occurs internally relative to the mode being a male as well as externally relative to the property being congruent to the next Provost.
The external/internal contrast is vital to understanding quasi-indicators. They are not merely external given their natural habitat within attitudinal scope. Thus, by using `he himself' in,
(5) The Chair said that he himself is upset about the Dean's report.
I intend to convey how the Chair referred to himself, namely, in a first person way, implying that `he himself' occurs internally relative to the self mode. At the same time, I am reporting the Chair's reference to himself, not to myself, yourself, or some other self, and the third-person character of `him' expresses my modes, not the Chair's.
Accordingly, while `he himself' is internal relative to the generic productive mode associated with the type `I', it is external with respect to the modes that I, the attributor, express with `the Chair' and `he'.
For these reasons, neither of the following is an accurate paraphrase of (5):
(14) (þx)(x = the Chair and the Chair said that x is upset about the Dean's report).
(15) (þx)(x &congruent; the Chair and the Chair said that x is upset about the Dean's report).
Nor do familiar analyses in terms of senses work. For example, letting bracketed expressions represent senses, e.g., `[Self]' represents the generic self-mode, and `^' express the manner by which senses combine to form complex senses or thoughts, the following won't do:
(16) The Chair said that [[Self] ^ [is upset about the Dean's report]].
since it could not distinguish between what the Chair is said to think from what is attributed to the Provost by,
(17) The Provost said that he himself is upset about the Dean's report.
Proper regimentations must be sensitive to the distinct perspectives expressed by quasi-indicators. Suppose `[Self]the Chair' is a description satisfied by the particularized first-person mode through which the Chair refers to himself qua self (at the time in question). Does
(18) The Chair said that [[Self]the Chair ^ [is upset about the Dean's report]].
accurately paraphrase (5)? I think not. By the subjectivity thesis, the Chair's identifying mode cannot be the individuating mode expressed by my use of `he himself' (contrary to suggestions in Peacocke 1981, 191 and Forbes 1987, 21). Alternatively, if `[Self]the Chair' is read non-referentially, then the question concerns scope. A small scope Russellian analysis yields something equivalent to,
(19) The Chair said that (þs)(s and s alone is the Chair's first-person identifying mode and s ^ [is upset about the Dean's report]).
fails to provide a necessary condition of (5) if the Chair does not think of himself qua the modes which I, the speaker, express through `the Chair' or have conceptualized his first-person identifying mode as predicative. This is avoided on the large-scope reading,
(20) (þs)(s and s alone is a the Chair's first-person identifying mode and the Chair said [s ^ [is upset about the Dean's report]]).
which is similar to a proposal in Perry 1983, 25. Yet this Fregean analysis fails to specify a thinking referent. With his use of `I' in (1), the Chair thinkingly referred to himself, a particular, not to referential modes, and he predicated something of this particular, namely, a certain emotional state. Such information can be and should be captured in an accurate attribution.
With the treatment of `he' in (10) as a precedent, a quasi-indicator is best viewed as a complex term expressing (i) an attributee's first-person mode of production, and (ii) the speaker's reference via an antecedent. The subscript-superscript format again achieves the right blend of external and internal content. First, using indexical types to specify generic indexical modes, the closest we come to comprehending what the Chair expressed with (1) is to attribute to him an attitude toward a proposition of the type, xIc is upset about the Dean's report where `xIc' depicts what is the same as the Chair and referred to by the Chair qua Self -- or, in other words, to what has the self property within the Chair's perspective. (5) gives way to,
(21) (þxc)(the Chair said that xIc is upset about the Dean's report).
while the correlated analysis of (17) is,
(22) (þxp)(the Provost said that xIp is upset about the Dean's report).
If the Provost refers to the Chair via the demonstrative `he' and notes his anger over the Dean's report, we could report,
(23) (þxc)(the Provost said that xHcE is upset about the Dean's report).
where `xHcE' depicts what is the same as the Chair and referred to through the demonstrative he mode. Had the Provost addressed the Chair with this observation we might report,
(24) (þxc)(the Provost said that xYcOU are upset about the Dean's report).
And so it is with all attributions of indexical reference. Each quasi-indicator is a referentially composite term which conveys reference to what its antecedent refers while expressing the referential modes used by the subject in making a reference. These modes, whether being a this, a you, a there, a beyond, etc., are, at best, generic indexical properties whose determinates are accessible only to the occupants of particular non-repeatable perspectives.
Tokens of standard indexical types can also be used quasi-indexically, for example,
(25) I now feel that I am in danger.
Here there is risk of ambiguity. If I use the second `I' indexically with no intention of revealing how I think of myself then it is not a quasi-indicator. But if I wish to emphasize my possession of a mechanism for making first-person references then I intend (25) to be read as,
(26) I now feel that I myself am in danger.
with `I myself' as a quasi-indicator used to attribute to myself first-person awareness (Forbes 1987, 18). If so, it is not an indexical though it conveys indexical reference in just the way that `he himself' in (5) conveys a third-person reference. How is (26) to be accommodated? Compare it with a past-tensed,
(27) Yesterday, I felt that I myself was in danger.
The first `I' is indexical, but `I myself' is used to report what I thought yesterday, namely, that I am the same as something which I then felt qua Self to be in danger. That past self is not my present thinking referent. Instead, I am now attributing to myself possession yesterday of a first-person referential mechanism;
(28) (þxi,y)(Yesterday I felt that xIi,y was in danger).
where the variable ranges over that which is the same as me yesterday. Moroever, taking `was' as quasi-indexical we get,
(29) (þty)(þxi,y)(Yesterday I felt that xIi,y is at tNyOW in danger).
where `ty' ranges over intervals the same as yesterday. But (28) and (29) are not the only readings of (27). If `I myself' and `was' are genuine indicators, (27) can be taken at face value. The same might be true of (26), though giving it the suggested quasi-indexical reading yields,
(30) (þxi,n)(I now feel that xIi,n is (am) in danger).
where the subscripted `n' abbreviates the indexical `now'. This is as appropriate for (26) as (28) or (29) is for (27).
One difficulty common to all accounts of ascriptions concerns iterated attitudes. For instance, the indexicals in,
(31) Isabella knows that Maria believes that I am happy.
are best understood as expressing speaker's reference only and given an external construal. One reading (Castañeda 1989a, 105) is as follows:
(32) (þx)(I &congruent; x and Isabella knows that (þy)(x &congruent; y and Maria believes that y is happy)).
The most controversial aspect of this analysis is the appearance of theoretical notions within attitudinal scope, a problem common to most attempts to deal with iterated belief (Forbes 1993). But if we remember that ascriptions are the attributor's interpretations of what the attributee thinks and that insight into the form, composition, and entailments of the attributed content is a matter of theoretical investigation, then interpretations like (32) cannot be ruled out.
Multiple operators with quasi-indicators introduce special ambiguities. Contrast (31) with,
(33) Isabella knows that Maria believes that she herself is happy.
If the speaker intends to represent Isabella's self-reference without claiming that she attributes any particular mode of reference to Maria, then (33) is,
(34) (þxi)(Isabella knows that (þy)(y &congruent; xIi and Maria believes that y is happy)).
where `xi' ranges over thinking referents congruent to what the speaker refers to with `Isabella'. On the other hand, (33) can also be taken as reporting Isabella's attribution of self-reference to Maria:
(35) Isabella knows that (þxm)(Maria believes that xIm is happy).
Other ambiguities lurking in (33) are due to the differences in the interpretation of `Maria'. (35) works as an analysis of (33) if the occurrence of `Maria' is intended to reveal Isabella's reference, but if it is the speaker's mechanism only, the following paraphrase might be more appropriate:
(36) (þx)(x &congruent; Maria and Isabella knows that (þyx)(x believes that yIx is happy).
Even more complicated analyses are in order if we wish to capture the temporal parameters implicit in (33).
The foregoing offers an account of the role of quasi-indicators in attributing indexical thoughts and references to others. The attributions are themselves attitudes, quasi-indexical attitudes, that make possible communication with indexicals. What emerges from this analysis is that these attitudes, so vital in our reactions to each other, require the intellectual feat of abstraction since interpreting indexicals can only yield the type of content a person grasps. This may come as a surprise to those who believe that the reactive attitudes, including the feelings of love, sympathy and respect for particular persons, are among the more concrete and least mathematical emotions we have. Yet if the foregoing account is correct, quasi-indexical attitudes involve precisely that feature of human intelligence which permits us to discern form and pattern in the mass of information that impinges upon us daily, namely, the abstractive power represented by our use of general terms, anaphoric pronouns and variables. It follows that these very important emotions have an intimate relation to the workings of human reason.
Boer, S., and Lycan, W., 1980. «Who Me?» The Philosophical Review 89, 427-466.
Burge, T., 1977. «Belief De Re,» The Journal of Philosophy 74, 338-362.
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