, Volume 74, Issue 3, pp 289-303
Date: 29 Apr 2010

I Am Still Not Here Now

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The problematic status of apparently true instances of ‘I am not here now’ has been noted since the beginning of the contemporary debate on the semantics of indexical expressions, marked by David Kaplan’s ‘Demonstratives’ (Kaplan 1977). According to Kaplan’s account of the meaning of ‘I’, ‘here’, and ‘now’, the sentence ‘I am here now’ is analytically true. Yet, as Kaplan recognizes in a footnote, the negation of this sentence may apparently be employed so as to convey a true content in cases in which ‘there is a significant lag between our production of speech and its audition’, for instance in cases of ‘messages recorded for later broadcast’ (Kaplan 1977, 491, footnote 12).

The debate about the puzzle to which Kaplan alludes took off in the late eighties and early nineties, with a handful of essays devoted to the analysis of recorded messages and written notes (Colterjohn and MacIntosh 1987; Sidelle 1991; Smith 1989; Vision 1985). But it is only in the last decade or so that the case ...