pp 1–27 | Cite as

How I Really Say What You Think

  • José Manuel ViejoEmail author
Original Paper


The apparently obviously true doctrine of opacity has been thought to be inconsistent with two others, to which many philosophers of language are also attracted: the referentialist account of the semantics of proper names and indexicals, on the one hand, and the principle of semantic innocence, on the other. I discuss here one of the most popular strategies for resolving the apparent inconsistency, namely Mark Richard’s theory of belief ascriptions, and raise three problems for it. Finally, I propose an alternative theory of the semantics of belief-ascribing sentences that clearly avoids the three problems that trouble Richard’s theory, and advocate it as the best available strategy for resolving the apparent inconsistency between the doctrine of opacity, referentialism, and the principle of semantic innocence.


Belief ascription Harmony Indexical theory Object-dependent thought Opacity Referentialism Semantic innocence That-clauses Translational theory 



The main ideas in this work have been presented at several scientific meetings: in a session of the Doc’in Nicod Seminar (Institut Jean Nicod, March 2018); in the 2nd Context, Cognition and Communication Conference (University of Warsow, June 2018), and in the IX Conference of the Spanish Society for Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science (UNED, November 2018). I am indebted to the respective audiences and to some other people who have read previous versions of this paper and have made very helpful comments and suggestions. Special thanks are due to Jérôme Dokic, John Horden, Manuel Pérez Otero, François Recanati, Jesús Vega, and Ignacio Vicario. I would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their comments and corrections. Financial Support: Doctoral Grant “Contrato Predoctoral para Formación de Personal Investigador” (FPI-UAM), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Project “Culturas materiales, culturas epistémicas. Estándares, prácticas cognitivas y conocimiento” (FFI2013-45659-R), MINECO (Spanish Government). Project “Autonomía intelectual en entornos de dependencia epistémica” (FFI2017-87395-P), MINECO (Spanish Government).


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Lingüística General, Lenguas Modernas, Lógica y Filosofía de la Ciencia, Teoría de la Literaruta y Literatura Comparada, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Universidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain

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