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Ideas of Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh, by Text

[, fl. 2013, Professors at St Andrew's, and at the University of Texas at Austin.]

2013 The Inessential Indexical
01.4 p.12 It is assumed that indexical content is needed to represent the perspective of perception
     Full Idea: Because our perceptual states typically represent the world as seen from a perspective, it is sometimes thought that some distinctively indexical kind of content is needed to characterise those states.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 01.4)
     A reaction: They are summarising this view precisely so that they can oppose it, and I think they are right.
01.5 p.14 A 'teepee' argument has several mutually supporting planks to it
     Full Idea: In a 'teepee' argument, a number of argumentative planks intersupport each other. No plank is sufficiently strong to establish the position, but each lends credibility to the others because there is the appearance of a unified phenomenon.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 01.5)
     A reaction: To attack it, they say, you have to identify the separate planks of the argument. It is a moot point whether the teepee might be so imprecise that it is better described as 'coherence'. There is a background support, as well as the planks.
01.6 p.15 The basic Kaplan view is that there is truth-conditional content, and contextual character
     Full Idea: In what we label 'Basic Kaplanianism', each of the sentences 'Smith is happy' and 'I am happy', as uttered by Smith, has two levels of meaning. The 'content' is a truth-conditional representation. The 'character' is a function from contexts to contents.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 01.6)
     A reaction: They give this as a minimal and plausible account of the situation, without reading huge significance into the indexical. I'm inclined to see the situation in terms of the underlying proposition containing both ingredients.
01.7 p.16 Indexicals are just non-constant in meaning, and don't involve any special concepts
     Full Idea: Once the non-constant characters of expressions has been characterised, there is no further need for additional devices like 'first-person concepts' or 'demonstrative concepts'.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 01.7)
     A reaction: This seems to me to be a wonderfully liberating attack on this issue. There is a kind of creepy mysticism that has been allowed to accrue around indexicals, and it's nonsense.
01.8 p.18 Indexicality is not significantly connected to agency
     Full Idea: There are no interesting or distinctive explanatory connections between indexicality and agency.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 01.8)
02.3 p.27 It is proposed that a huge range of linguistic items are context-sensitive
     Full Idea: An enormous amount has been written about whether 'all', 'know', 'might', 'delicious', 'good', 'if, then', 'and', 'red', 'just', 'justified', 'probable', 'local', 'ready', and 'left-right' are context-sensitive.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 02.3)
     A reaction: The clearest way to approach these things is ask what the (informal) domain of quantification is for that particular context. The domain can shift in the course of a sentence.
04.5 p.71 Fregeans can't agree on what 'senses' are
     Full Idea: There is little agreement among Fregeans about what senses are.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 04.5)
     A reaction: I don't take this to be sufficient grounds for dismissing Fregean senses. When we look into the workings of the linguistic mind, there seems little prospect of clarity or agreement.
04.6 p.72 Fregeans say 'I' differs in reference, so it must also differ in sense
     Full Idea: Fregeans tend to treat as a fundamental tenet that sense determines reference; same sense, same reference. From that it follow trivially that indexicals don't have the same sense: different uses of 'I' have different referents, so sense must differ.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 04.6)
     A reaction: Interesting. Since it seems implausible that 'I' is profoundly different when two people use it, this seems to be a strong argument against Frege's distinction. But I rather like Frege's distinction, while being sceptical about 'I', so I'm baffled....
05.5 p.101 Possible worlds accounts of content are notoriously coarse-grained
     Full Idea: Possible worlds accounts of content are notoriously coarse-grained. They fail to distinguish between logical or mathematical truths, ..between metaphysical equivalences, ..between coreferentials, ..and between indexicals and non-indexicals.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 05.5)
     A reaction: [A nice summary, very compressed]
06.2 p.111 Folk Functionalism is a Ramsification of our folk psychology
     Full Idea: According to Folk Functionalism, mental states are theoretically defined by Ramsifying on our folk-psychological theory.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 06.2)
06.2 p.114 We deny that action involves some special class of beliefs
     Full Idea: Maybe there is a class of beliefs that plays a special role in the explanation of action. We have argued against the existence of such a class (or at least any interesting such class).
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 06.2)
     A reaction: The main class which has been proposed is the one that involves indexical beliefs. I agree with this idea.
07.1 p.132 Proprioception is only immune from error if you are certain that it represents the agent
     Full Idea: The guarantee of immunity from error in prioprioception is only as strong as the guarantee that proprioception only ever represents the proprioceiving agent.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 07.1)
     A reaction: This is part of an interesting and sustained attack on the idea that self-knowledge is immune from error. They are thinking of science-fictiony situations where I am wired up to experience your leg movement. My experiences usually track me, that's all.
07.2 p.135 Prioprioception focuses on your body parts, not on your self, or indexicality
     Full Idea: Proprioception is not focused single-mindedly on the self, but is focused on a number of objects - the component bodily parts that belong to the self. There is no obvious need for a concept of the self, or of indexicality.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 07.2)
08.1 p.143 All indexicals can be expressed non-indexically
     Full Idea: Whatever can be expressed indexically could be expressed by non-indexical means.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 08.1)
     A reaction: This is the best summary of the thesis of their book. Indexicality in non-essential.
09.3 p.160 We can acquire self-knowledge with mirrors, not just with proprioception and introspection
     Full Idea: Imagine a being that learns everything about itself by watching itself in mirrors, rather than by proprioception and introspection. Surely it can get wet in a storm, even though allegedly distinctive routes of self-knowledge are not available to it?
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 09.3)
     A reaction: [compressed]
10 p.173 All information is objective, and purely indexical information is not much use
     Full Idea: Fundamentally, all information is objective information. ...[176] What we want is fully portable information, and information that co-ordinates on the world, rather than on us, is best suited for the task.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 10)
     A reaction: I agree entirely with their thesis. We just pick up information about ourselves, such as who and where we are, which is just like equivalent information about other people. It is isn't a special type of information.
10 p.176 If some of our thought is tied to its context, it will be hard to communicate it
     Full Idea: It is bad news if some of our contents are essentially tied to particular contexts. ...If information needs to be assessed relative to some ur-context, later recipients won't know what to do with it.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 10)
10 p.178 You don't remember your house interior just from an experienced viewpoint
     Full Idea: When you recall the look of the inside of your house ....where things are relative to one another is what persists in memory, not where they were relative to you when seen.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 10)
     A reaction: This seems to be a very telling example, though you could postulate some system which converts perspectival input into objective information. But why bother? We seek objective information, not perspectives.
10 p.180 Our beliefs and desires are not organised around ourselves, but around the world
     Full Idea: Our view on the world is not primarily a view from a perspective. Our beliefs and desires are not organized around us. They are instead organized around the world itself. Our view is a view from everywhere.
     From: Cappelen,H/Dever,Josh (The Inessential Indexical [2013], 10)
     A reaction: Slipping in the claim that our desires are also organised around the world is not quite as persuasive as the claim about beliefs. If you want to draw a freehand straight line, focus on the far end of it. The world will guide your hand.