Volume 10, Issue 1, 2010
Inostensible Reference and Conceptual Curiosity
A lot has been said about how the notion of reference relates to the notion of knowledge; not much has been said, however, on how the notion of reference
relates to our ability to become aware of what we do not know that allows us to be curious. In this essay I attempt to spell out a certain type of reference I call ‘inostensible’ that I claim to be a fundamental linguistic tool which allows us to become curious of what we do not know. In the first part, I try to explicate the notion of inostensible reference, both for singular and for general terms, as well as full declarative sentences, and in the second part, I argue that our capacity to enjoy conceptual curiosity is essentially based upon our aptitude for inostensible reference.