Volume 39, 2008
Philosophy of Language
On the Persistence of Indexical Belief
This paper is devoted to an examination of the topic of cognitive dynamics as introduced by David Kaplan in his essay ‘Demonstratives’. I discuss two approaches to cognitive dynamics: the directly referential approach, which I take as best represented in Kaplan’s views, and the neo-Fregean approach, which I take as best represented in Gareth Evans’s views. The upshot of my discussion is twofold. On the one hand, I argue that both Kaplan’s account and Evans’s account are on the whole defective - even though there are features of each of those views which seem to be along the right lines. On the other hand, I claim that a broadly Fregean account is still to be preferred since by positing semantically efficacious modes of presentation it is clearly better equipped to deal with the
phenomena in the area. In particular, I argue that the notion of a memory-based mode of presentation of an object turns out to be indispensable for the purpose of accounting for the persistence of intentional mental states over time.