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AssertionNew Philosophical Essays$
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Jessica Brown and Herman Cappelen

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199573004

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199573004.001.0001

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The Essential Contextual

The Essential Contextual

Chapter:
(p.137) 6 The Essential Contextual
Source:
Assertion
Author(s):

Robert Stalnaker (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199573004.003.0006

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

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