Uppsala Workshop in the Philosophy of Language

June 12, 2017
Department of Philosophy, Uppsala University (Sweden)


This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities


Nils Franzén
Uppsala Universitet
Hunter College (CUNY)
Eliot Michaelson
King's College London
Jessica Pepp
Umeå University
Andreas Stokke
Uppsala University


Daniel Fogal
Uppsala University

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Below is a tentative program, followed by abstracts. Talks will take place at Uppsala University, English Park Campus, room 2-1022. Everyone is welcome. If you have any questions, please contact the organizer.

UPDATE (11 June): Daniel Harris had to cancel his trip due to unforseen circumstances. Nils Franzén will be taking his place in the afternoon.

Monday, June 12 (Eng/2-1022)

9:30 AM - 10:50 AM    Andreas Stokke, "Indexicals as Variables"

11:00 AM - 12:20 PM  Jessica Pepp, "Perceiving through photographs and perceiving through words"


2:00 PM - 3:20 PM     Nils Franzén, "Aesthetic discourse and acquaintence"

3:30 PM - 4:50 PM     Eliot Michaelson, "Unspeakable Names"


"Indexicals as Variables" (Andreas Stokke)

The most striking source of context-sensitivity in natural languages are the expressions that are typically called “indexicals.” This category includes (at least) personal pronouns (I, you, she, etc.), demonstratives (that, this, those, etc.), and the familiar temporal and locative indexicals (today, tomorrow, here, there, etc.) This paper argues that all the indexicals should be treated as variables. In particular, I propose that a recent way of implementing the variable approach to personal pronouns be applied to the rest of the indexicals as well. According to this approach, an indexical is a variable associated with a number of presuppositional constraints on assignements. The motivation for this proposal is that it allows for a unified and elegant explanation of a number of patterns of use that all of these expressions have in common. Name, while all these indexicals have uses on which they are referential, only some have uses of on which they are bound. Specifically, the suggestion will be that the possibilites and impossibilites of binding are explained by general facts concerning how presuppositions project in the relevant kinds of environments.

"Unspeakable Names" (Eliot Michaelson)

There are names which cannot be spoken and others which cannot be written. After demonstrating this, I will discuss the ramifications of this observation for different theories of names. I will argue that such observations push us towards a pluralism about name-individuation which sits, at the very least, uneasily with predicativism. Millian and variabilist approaches to names will have an easier time with these data, although we will be pushed to reconsider the extent to which these theories ought to be considered competitors.

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