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Indexicality and Cognitive Significance: The Indispensability of Sense

Indexicality and Cognitive Significance: The Indispensability of Sense

João Branquinho, “Indexicality and Cognitive Significance: The Indispensability of Sense,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 73, no. 3–4 (2017): 1517–40, DOI 10.17990/RPF/2017_73_3_1517.

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Indexicality and Cognitive Significance: the Indispensability of Sense

Type Journal Article
Author João Branquinho
Rights © 2018 Aletheia - Associação Científica e Cultural | © 2018 Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia
Volume 73
Issue 3-4
Pages 1517-1540
Publication Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia
ISSN 0870-5283; 2183-461X
Date 2017
DOI 10.17990/RPF/2017_73_3_1517
Language English
Abstract This paper is devoted to the topic of indexicality in relation to the problem of cognitive significance. I undertake a critical examination of what I call the Millian Notational Variance Claim; this is the claim that those versions of a neo-Fregean semantics for demonstratives and other indexicals which rest upon the notion of a de re sense are eventually notational variants of a directly referential or Millian semantics for indexicals. I try to show that several lines of reasoning that might be pursued by Millian theorists with a view to establishing the Millian Notational Variance Claim are inconclusive, and hence that the claim is in general unsound. The problem of cognitive significance is tackled in connection with those categories of indexicals concerning which neo-Fregeanism and Millianism are alleged to yield similar results, viz. temporal indexicals, spatial indexicals, and perceptual demonstratives. I argue towards the conclusion that the notions the Millian theorist might invoke to accommodate the phenomena of cognitive significance in this area of indexicality are hardly adequate to the effect, and hence that senses are indispensable also here.
Date Added 17/01/2018, 17:51:20
Modified 18/01/2018, 10:48:10


  • cognitive value,
  • direct reference,
  • indexicals,
  • propositional attitudes,
  • sense


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