, Volume 166, Issue 2, pp 251–279

Billboards, bombs and shotgun weddings


DOI: 10.1007/s11229-007-9284-4

Cite this article as:
Egan, A. Synthese (2009) 166: 251. doi:10.1007/s11229-007-9284-4


It’s a presupposition of a very common way of thinking about context-sensitivity in language that the semantic contribution made by a bit of context-sensitive vocabulary is sensitive only to features of the speaker’s situation at the time of utterance. I argue that this is false, and that we need a theory of context-dependence that allows for content to depend not just on the features of the utterance’s origin, but also on features of its destination. There are cases in which a single utterance semantically conveys different propositions to different members of its audience, which force us to say that what a sentence conveys depends not just on the context in which it is uttered, but also on the context in which it is received.


Context Content Character 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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