Proximal intentions intentionalism

Victor Tamburini*

*Corresponding author for this work

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According to a family of metasemantics for demonstratives called intentionalism, the intentions of speakers determine the reference of demonstratives. And according to a sub-family I call proximal intentions (PI) intentionalism, the intention that determines reference is one that occupies a certain place—the proximal one—in a structure of intentions. PI intentionalism is thought to make correct predictions about reference where less sophisticated forms of intentionalism make the wrong predictions. In this article I argue that this is an illusion: PI intentionalism also suffers from predictive inadequacy. In Sect. 1, I present the problem of predictive inadequacy for intentionalism and an ad hoc response to it. In Sect. 2, I sketch a version of PI intentionalism that aims to provide the most principled response to this problem. In Sect. 3, I explain why PI intentionalism cannot solve the problem after all. In Sect. 4, I indicate where I think metasemanticists should go next.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)879–891
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2024


  • Demonstratives
  • Metasemantics
  • Reference
  • Intentionalism
  • Referential intentions


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