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Two Problems of Overgeneration for the Reflexive-Referential Theory

Abstract : One of the most promising aspects of Perry (2001)'s Reflexive-Referential Theory (henceforth RRT) is its capacity to generate a variety of contents that may be associated with a single utterance, contents that may be used for various explanatory purposes. My concern in this paper is that, as it stands, RRT generates too many contents. The problem is not just that most of those contents will be explanatorily idle, but rather, that nothing in the actual RRT explains why those contents cannot play the same roles that their minimally different “neighbors” can play. In Section 1, I will discuss two kinds of example that motivate RRT and its multiplicity of contents; the first comes close enough to some of Perry's own examples, but the second is original and may be viewed as an application of RRT to a problem not discussed by Perry himself. In Section 2, I will show how these examples, give rise, in turn, to problems of overgeneration. In other words, just as we are able to derive, in RRT, contents that we may use to acount for the cases that motivate multiple contents, we ought to be able to derive analogous contents that, in turn, commit us to either counterintuitive or wrong predictions. In Section 3, I will tentatively outline lines of response that Perry could take. The overall direction of the paper is thus optimistic, since the problems raised may be viewed as pointing to ways of improving RRT, rather than undermining it.
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Contributor : Isidora Stojanovic <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, May 20, 2008 - 7:20:37 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, September 17, 2020 - 12:28:49 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, May 28, 2010 - 7:41:57 PM


  • HAL Id : ijn_00281103, version 1


Isidora Stojanovic. Two Problems of Overgeneration for the Reflexive-Referential Theory. Conference on John Perry's work, Apr 2008, Madrid, Spain. ⟨ijn_00281103v1⟩



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