Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Conference papers

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 roles that their minimally different “neighbors” can play. In Section 1, I 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 therefore viewed as an application of RRT to a problem that has not been 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 RRT is able to derive contents that may be used to account for the cases that need explanation, it ought to be able to derive analogous contents that, in turn, give counterintuitive, if not outright wrong predictions. In Section 3, I will tentatively outline a line 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.
Document type :
Conference papers
Complete list of metadata

Cited literature [6 references]  Display  Hide  Download
Contributor : Isidora Stojanovic <>
Submitted on : Friday, May 30, 2008 - 3:42:13 PM
Last modification on : Friday, July 2, 2021 - 9:58:02 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - 4:25:03 PM


  • HAL Id : ijn_00281103, version 2



Isidora Stojanovic. Two Problems of Overgeneration for the Reflexive-Referential Theory. Conference on John Perry's work, Apr 2008, Madrid, Spain. ⟨ijn_00281103v2⟩



Record views


Files downloads