CSLI Publications logo
new books
knuth books
for authors
CSLI Publications
Facebook CSLI Publications RSS feed
CSLI Publications Newsletter Signup Button
The Problem of the Essential Indexical and Other Essays, Expanded Edition cover

The Problem of the Essential Indexical and Other Essays, Expanded Edition

John Perry

This book includes famous papers such as “The Problem of the Essential Indexical” and “Frege on Demonstratives” and “Cognitive Significance and New Theories of Reference” ; papers co-authored with Mark Crimmins (“The Prince and the Phone Booth”) and David Israel (“Fodor on Psychological Explanations”) and related papers on situation semantics, direct reference, and the structure of belief. Perry has added “afterwords” that discuss responses to his work by Gareth Evans,Robert Stalnaker, Barbara Partee, Howard Wettstein and others.

No word in English is shorter than the word “I”. And yet no word is more important in philosophy. When Descartes said “I think therefore I am” he produced something that was both about himself and a universal formula. The word “I” is called an “indexical” which means who it stands for depends on who says it, not just on its meaning. Other indexicals are “you” , “here” and “now”. Perry discusses how these words work, and why they express important philosophical thoughts. He claims that indexicals pose a challenge to traditional assumptions about language and thought, and for that reason a number of these papers sparked lively debates. The papers have been influential in philosophy, linguistics and other areas of cognitive science.

Recipient of numerous international academic awards, John Perry is Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University, where he has chaired the pholosophy Department and directed the Center for the Study of Language and Information, which he helped found.


  • Preface to the Expanded Edition
  • Preface to the First Edition
  • Acknowledgements
  • 1 Ferge on Demonstratives
  • 2 The Problem of the Essential Indexical
  • 3 Belief and Acceptance
  • 4 A Problem About Continued Belief
  • 5 Castañeda on He and I
  • 6 Perception, Action, and the Structure of Believing
  • 7 From Worlds to Situations
  • 8 Possible Worlds and Subject Matter
  • 9 Circumstantial Attitudes and Benevolent Cognition
  • 10 Thought Without Representation
  • 11 Cognitive Significance and New Theories of Reference
  • 12 The Prince and the Phone Booth: Reporting Puzzling Beliefs
    with Mark Crimmins
  • 13 Individuals in Informational and Intentional Content
  • 14 Fodor and Psychological Explanations
    with David Israel
  • 15 Davidson's Sentences and Wittgenstein's Builders
  • 16 Evading the Slingshot
  • 17 Broadening the Mind
  • 18 What Are Indexicals?
  • 19 Myself and I
  • 20 Reflexivity, Indexicality and Names
  • 21 Rip Van Winkle and Other Characters
  • References
  • Index


ISBN (Paperback): 1575862697 (9781575862699)
ISBN (Cloth): 1575862468 (9781575862460)
ISBN (Electronic): 1575867303 (9781575867304)

Subject: Philosophy; Meaning; Belief and Doubt

Add to Cart
View Cart

Check Out

Distributed by the
University of
Chicago Press

pubs @ csli.stanford.edu