• Graeme Forbes
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 167)


The central examples of indexical expressions are the English pronouns I, ‘you’, ‘it’, and temporal and spatial expressions like ‘now’, ‘tomorrow’, ‘here’ and ‘there’; these indexicals are syntactically simple, and can be used to form complex indexical expressions such as ‘my father’, ‘over there’, and ‘the day after tomorrow’. An indexical expression is, roughly, one whose associated object is not given once for all, as it is for a proper name. Rather, the associated object changes in some systematic way from context of use to context of use, and one task of any semantics of indexicals is to explain or articulate the system which is actually at work here. In the literature, it is also usual to include with indexicals other kinds of expression which have a salient semantic feature that changes as the context of use changes; for instance, demonstratives, such as ‘that man’, and tense operators, such as ‘it will be the case that’; so we will count these as indexicals too.


Belief State Propositional Attitude Indexical Expression Constitutive Role Intensional Operator 
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© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1989

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  • Graeme Forbes

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