•  515
    Indexicals and Reference‐Shifting: Towards a Pragmatic Approach
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (1): 117-152. 2017.
    I propose a pragmatic approach to the kind of reference-shifting occurring in indexicals as used in e.g. written notes and answering machine messages. I proceed in two steps. First, I prepare the ground by showing that the arguments against such a pragmatic approach raised in the recent literature fail. Second, I take a first few steps towards implementing this approach, by sketching a pragmatic theory of reference-shifting, and showing how it can handle cases of the relevant kind. While the imm…Read more
  •  493
    Contextualist Theories of Vagueness
    Philosophy Compass 7 (7): 470-480. 2012.
    During the last couple of decades, several attempts have been made to come up with a theory that can handle the various semantic, logical and philosophical problems raised by the vagueness of natural languages. One of the most influential ideas that have come into fashion in recent years is the idea that vagueness should be analysed as a form of context sensitivity. Such contextualist theories of vagueness have gained some popularity, but many philosophers have remained sceptical of the prospect…Read more
  •  443
    Communication and indexical reference
    Philosophical Studies 149 (3). 2010.
    In the debate over what determines the reference of an indexical expression on a given occasion of use, we can distinguish between two generic positions. According to the first, the reference is determined by internal factors, such as the speaker’s intentions. According to the second, the reference is determined by external factors, like conventions or what a competent and attentive audience would take the reference to be. It has recently been argued that the first position is untenable, since t…Read more
  •  431
    This paper questions the adequacy of the explicit cancellability test for conversational implicature as it is commonly understood. The standard way of understanding this test relies on two assumptions: first, that that one can test whether a certain content is conversationally implicated, by checking whether that content is cancellable, and second, that a cancellation is successful only if it results in a felicitous utterance. While I accept the first of these assumptions, I reject the second on…Read more
  •  397
    According to the communication desideratum (CD), a notion of semantic content must be adequately related to communication. In the recent debate on indexical reference, (CD) has been invoked in arguments against the view that intentions determine the semantic content of indexicals and demonstratives (intentionalism). In this paper, I argue that the interpretations of (CD) that these arguments rely on are questionable, and suggest an alternative interpretation, which is compatible with (strong) in…Read more
  •  362
    Vagueness, semantics and psychology
    Philosophical Quarterly 61 (242): 1-5. 2011.
    According to extension-shifting theories of vagueness, the extensions of vague predicates have sharp boundaries, which shift as a function of certain psychological factors. Such theories have been claimed to provide an attractive explanation of the appeal of soritical reasoning. I challenge this claim: the demand for such an explanation need not constrain the semantics of vague predicates at all
  •  360
    Unruly Words: A Study of Vague Language (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 201403. 2014.
  •  260
    Forced‐March Sorites Arguments and Linguistic Competence
    Dialectica 67 (4): 403-426. 2013.
    Agent relativists about vagueness (henceforth ‘agent relativists’) hold that whether or not an object x falls in the extension of a vague predicate ‘P’ at a time t depends on the judgemental dispositions of a particular competent agent at t. My aim in this paper is to critically examine arguments that purport to support agent relativism by appealing to data from forced-march Sorites experiments. The most simple and direct versions of such forced-march Sorites arguments rest on the following (imp…Read more
  •  260
    A plea for pragmatics
    Synthese 170 (1). 2009.
    Let intentionalism be the view that what proposition is expressed in context by a sentence containing indexicals depends on the speaker’s intentions. It has recently been argued that intentionalism makes communicative success mysterious and that there are counterexamples to the intentionalist view in the form of cases of mismatch between the intended interpretation and the intuitively correct interpretation. In this paper, I argue that these objections can be met, once we acknowledge that we may…Read more