Essential indexicality

Thomson, Euan N. S (1984) Essential indexicality. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The idea which provoked this essay is that sometimes an indexical term is essential to the expression of a truth. I explore some consequences of this idea, whether or not it is true, and investigate why anyone should believe that it is. As to the consequences of the idea, I strongly hold that they are much more dramatic than is usually supposed, and that casual acceptance or rejection of it is therefore impermissible Since that nonchalance is general, this is one of the main contentions of the thesis. In general I argue from the supposition that the nature of temporality and selfhood necessitates indexical forms of expression, and therefore oppose the 'absolute conception' of the world as a body of impersonal and eternal truth. In the course of this polemic I discover an argument against current modal semantics. However, the subjectivist position which I adopt is found to involve a host of unpopular metaphysical consequences, and doubt is cast on its own expressibi1ity. The reader may well come to feel that the absolute conception does not suffer by comparison. Finally, I put the concept of essential, indexicality to use as an exegetical instrument, and argue that it brings out a central feature of many irrationalist or subjectivist philosophies. I find it hidden also in several innocent-seeming forms of expression to which analytic philosophers are much given and which may, therefore, commit them to doctrines they would gladly disown.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Philosophy
Date of Award: 1984
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1984-71626
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 May 2019 14:04
Last Modified: 10 May 2019 14:04
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/71626

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