Bifurcations on the road

conflicting intentions and demonstrative reference



Referência, Intenções conflitantes, Demonstrativos, Indexicais, Contente


This is a critical notice of Mario Gómez-Torrente's novel account of demonstrative reference presented in chapter 2 of the recently published book Roads to Reference. After presenting the main tenets of his view (including the existence of a multitude of cases where demonstrative reference is indeterminate), I go on to critically examine a couple of its features. In section 2, I assess Gómez-Torrente’s assumption that demonstrative thought based on perception is less likely to succumb to indeterminacy than the others. I show that this aspect of his view invites unwelcome consequences regarding the transparency of thought. I do however suggest that this problem could be overcome by individuating perceptual intentions dynamically. In section 3, I express a distinct worry regarding a case, introduced en passant by Gómez-Torrente, that involves successful demonstrative reference regardless of its utterer's conflicting intentions, a result that seems to contradict his general theory. Instead of conceiving the case as exceptional, I use it to motivate the necessity of distinguishing between a subject’s referential intentions and a subject’s merely collateral beliefs about the target of his utterance.


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Biografia do Autor

Matheus Valente, Universidade de Barcelona

Doutor em Filosofia pelo Departamento de Filosofia da Universidade de Barcelona.


Gomez-Torrente, Mario (2019). Roads to Reference. An Essay on Reference Fixing in Natural Language. Oxford, United

Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

Siegel, Susanna (2002). ‘The role of perception in demonstrative reference’. Philosophers' Imprint 2:1-21.

Recanati, François (2016). Mental Files in Flux. Oxford University Press.

Recanati, François (forthcoming). ‘Transparent Coreference’. Topoi.



Como Citar

VALENTE, M. Bifurcations on the road: conflicting intentions and demonstrative reference. Manuscrito: Revista Internacional de Filosofia, Campinas, SP, v. 43, n. 4, p. 116–129, 2021. Disponível em: Acesso em: 6 out. 2022.