Demonstratives and the Audience-Control Theory



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Tartu Ülikool


According to the audience-control theory of demonstratives, the content of a demonstrative in a context is what an attentive and competent audience would reasonably take to be its content in the context. In this thesis, I will respond to the arguments that have been made against the this theory, and have not been responded in the literature. Three of these arguments can be responded to by relying the existing framework of the audience-control theory, worked out by Wettstein (1984) and Romdenh-Romluc (2002, 2004). Responding to the two remaining requires specifying what the theory would predict in cases where the interlocutors could disagree about what the content of a demonstrative is. In the thesis, I will develop two ways to make this specification. According to the first response, in these cases, the content of the demonstrative is indeterminate, and according to the second response, the demonstrative has different content relative to different audience members. The thesis concludes by assessing these two responses by considering how they handle situations where disagreements about what a demonstrative refers to are revealed.



audience-control theory, content of a demonstrative, disagreements, Romdenh-Romluc, Wettstein