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Gregory Bochner

Postdoctoral researcher
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique - FNRS / Université Libre de Bruxelles
Essential Indexicality
01 September 2018 -
30 June 2019
Philosophy
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Gregory Bochner is a postdoctoral researcher in philosophy and linguistics. After obtaining his PhD in semantics (Université Libre de Bruxelles, FNRS) and philosophy of language (Institut Jean Nicod) in 2011, Gregory received several postdoctoral scholarships to conduct research in Bologna, New York (NYU), Barcelona (UB), Brussels (ULB), and Fribourg (Switzerland). He has taught courses at ULB (2014-2017) on communication and cognition, semantics and pragmatics, and the philosophy of language. He is a founding member of a Belgian interuniversity research project on externalism in the philosophy of language and mind (FNRS, 2016-2020). He was awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship to continue his research at the Institut Jean Nicod (ENS, Paris) in 2019-2021.

Research interests

Theories of meaning and reference; speech acts; possible world semantics; varieties of context-dependence; interactions between language and thought; perspective and subjectivity in language and thought; self-reference and self-knowledge; externalism; implicit communication; pragmatic rules of conversation; theories of knowledge; theories of consciousness.

Essential Indexicality

At the intersection of philosophy (of mind and language) and linguistics (semantics and pragmatics), this project deals with the so-called “problem of the essential indexical” (PEI). Indexicals are words like ‘I’, ‘now’, ‘here’, or ‘this’, whose referent varies according to the context of their use. Around 1970, it was noticed that some thoughts cannot be communicated without the help of indexicals. It appeared that such “self-locating” thoughts (about who and where one is in the world) represent the world essentially from a situated perspective in the world. Since then, many theories have sought to explain in what sense exactly, and why, indexicality would be essential; but no consensus was ever reached. Lately, new sceptics have argued that essential indexicality was a myth. Their ingenious arguments have generated a heated debate about the nature and scope of the PEI, which must be entirely re-assessed. The aim of this project is to explore a novel approach to the PEI, and to indexicality generally. This reverses some insights due to the sceptics to argue for a radical conclusion: the phenomenon of essential indexicality was real but much more general than had originally been supposed.

18016
2018-2019
Contemporary period (1789-…)
World or no region