Working Papers

The Purpose of the Essential Indexical

Catherine Legg

This paper takes indexicality as a case-study for critical examination of the distinction between semantics and pragmatics as currently conceived in mainstream philosophy of language. Both a ‘pre-indexical’ and ‘post-indexical’ analytic formal semantics are examined and found wanting, and instead an argument is mounted for a ‘properly pragmatist pragmatics’, according to which we do not work out what signs mean in some abstract overall sense and then work out to what use they are being put; rather, we must understand to what use signs are being put in order to work out what they mean.

Legg, C. (2015). The Purpose of the Essential Indexical (Commens Working Papers no. 6). Retrieved from Commens: Digital Companion to C. S. Peirce,
March 11, 2015