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Senses matter because they fix reference (and not because they attribute anything)

Been thinking about two related problems concerning indexicalism (and its new semantic sibling, deferralism). First, the problem of cognitive significance as people like Perry (and Kaplan) believe should concern direct reference theorists - and that Wettstein disagrees. Second, the problem of immediate perception and the given in cognition with which I deal in the forthcoming book (currently entitled Indexicalism: Realism and the Metaphysics of Paradox).

With respect to character and content (Kaplan's terms that I don't believe are alien to Perry's project), I'm thinking that there is a continuity between them. Character is the indexity that leads towards the world, it has to do with what Perry calls "locating beliefs" and it is not yet what determines what the thought is about. Character is a route and somehow a mode of presentation. It enjoys indeed an unavoidable family resemblance with Fregean senses. Content, on the other hand, is the indexicality in the world, it has to do with indexical navigation. A statement of identity concerning two different presentations - 'Hesperus is Phosphorus" - concerns the indexical structures of the world and only to the extent it captures it that it could be true (and if so, necessary - though a priori).

In terms of sense, explicitly, I would argue descriptions, modes of presentation, character, or whatever - whatever could engage with a conceptual apparatus - matter because they are reference-fixers. In other words, "the morning star" fixes a reference and this is why it is indexically relevant. (The attributive use is, in general, secondary.) What concepts do (and seemingly de dicto beliefs do) is to fix reference. Concepts are indexical devices and their import is their indexical work. Nothing can be captured, perceived or assimilated outside the indexical structure and concepts help to place what is sensed in this structure. Additionally, to say that Hesperus is the same as Phosphorus is to discover something about the route that navigates me to one place being what navigates me to the other.


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