Semantically Empty Gestures

  • Nathan SalmonEmail author
Part of the Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology book series (PEPRPHPS, volume 18)


Frege held that the bare demonstrative ‘that’ is incomplete, and that it is the word together with a gesture that serves as the designating expression, and likewise that it is the word ‘yesterday’ together with the time of utterance that designates the relevant day. David Kaplan’s original theory of indexicals holds that Frege’s supplementation thesis is correct about demonstratives but incorrect about ‘yesterday’. Kaplan’s account of demonstratives deviates from Frege’s in treating supplemented demonstratives as directly referential, hence rigid. It is argued here that the gesture or other demonstration that accompanies an utterance of ‘that’ is not part of the designating expression but instead part of the utterance context.


Context Demonstrative Demonstratum Dthat Gesture Indexical Singular proposition Zat 

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA

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