, Volume 166, Issue 2, pp 231–250

Nonindexical contextualism


DOI: 10.1007/s11229-007-9286-2

Cite this article as:
MacFarlane, J. Synthese (2009) 166: 231. doi:10.1007/s11229-007-9286-2


Philosophers on all sides of the contextualism debates have had an overly narrow conception of what semantic context sensitivity could be. They have conflated context sensitivity (dependence of truth or extension on features of context) with indexicality (dependence of content on features of context). As a result of this conflation, proponents of contextualism have taken arguments that establish only context sensitivity to establish indexicality, while opponents of contextualism have taken arguments against indexicality to be arguments against context sensitivity. Once these concepts are carefully pulled apart, it becomes clear that there is conceptual space in semantic theory for nonindexical forms of contextualism that have many advantages over the usual indexical forms.


Contextualism Context sensitivity Indexicality 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA