This chapter examines the role of speaker intentions in issues of reference determination for context-sensitive expressions, focusing on demonstratives. Intuitively, the referent of a token utterance of ‘that’ is fixed (at least in part) by the speaker's intentions. However, if this is right it causes a potential problem for semantic minimalism. The chapter begins by setting out the nature of this problem and proceeds to explore three putative solutions. First, the assumption that speaker intentions fix reference in these cases may be rejected; second, it may be held that current speaker intentions are relevant but that they can be accommodated within a formal semantic theory; third, reference determination and semantic content may be held strictly apart. The first two of these moves, termed respectively ‘conventionalism’ and ‘non-inferentialism’, are rejected. However it is shown that the third move provides an appealing way for the minimalist to accommodate the content of context-sensitive expressions.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.