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Hybrid Expressions

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNAI,volume 11939)


The paper discusses the idea of hybrid names. First, the three theories of hybrid names (according to Künne, Kripke and Textor) are briefly discussed and compared. Second, the paper briefly discusses some problems that the theories face. Third, an alternative hybrid view is outlined. According to that view, utterances are contextually perduring objects. It is argued that in order to determine the contextual distribution of a particular utterance, one has to take into account the admissible distributions of contextual parameters, their potential referents and the speaker’s referential intentions. Finally, the merits of the view are briefly discussed. Two of the most important are: the analysis of cases of multiple occurrences of indexicals and demonstratives, and the solution to the so-called problem of missing demonstrations.


  • Hybrid names
  • Indexicals
  • Demonstratives

The work on this paper was funded by National Science Center, Poland, grant under award number 2018/29/B/HS1/01868.

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  1. 1.

    Künne’s (1992) original view was different, as he took demonstratum to be part of the hybrid name. He changed his mind, however, and in Künne (2010) he parts company with Textor and Kripke.

  2. 2.

    What the nature of the relation in question is remains unexplained, although in non-demonstrative cases like the ones of ‘I’, ‘here’ and ‘now’ the relation is that of identity.

  3. 3.

    Kripke uses the ordered pair notation here, but stresses that nothing is dependent on that.

  4. 4.

    This scenario is a slightly more complex variant of the case described by Künne (1992): 728.

  5. 5.

    The problem might be stated as a question if (in each of the cases 1–3) the thought expressed by A/B/C is the same as the one decoded by the remaining two agents. I am avoiding this way of phrasing the problem because it involves additional issues connected with the speaker/addressee roles in the communication.

  6. 6.

    See Predelli (2006) for additional reasons for endorsing HNH.

  7. 7.

    ‘How could a time possibly designate anything? A time of utterance is something one can neither understand nor misunderstand, so how can it have a Fregean Bedeutung?’ (Künne 2010: 541).

  8. 8.

    How is the class of relevant distributions determined? Determination involves considerations pertaining to the relevance of particular configurations of contextual factors in the situation. As such, it is pragmatically determined.

  9. 9.

    There are problematic cases here, of course (cf. Mount 2008). However, they could be explained away as cases of non-standard uses of indexicals.

  10. 10.

    For a general discussion on perduring and perduratism see: Lowe (2002): 41–48.

  11. 11.

    The contextual perdurantism is a thesis solely about utterances (‘Utterances have contextual parts’) and, as such, is independent from the standard perdurantism (‘Physical objects have spatial and temporal parts’). This can be seen, firstly, in cases of utterances that contain only non-temporal and non-spatial indexicals. Such utterances have contextual parts (possibly: speaker, addressee, epistemic standard etc. parts) but our theory is silent about them having temporal or spatial parts at all. Secondly, since the points in each contextual dimensions are not regular objects but sequences of qua-objects even the temporal or spatial parts of some utterances (the ones that contain temporal or spatial indexicals) are in fact instants qua time of utterance and locations qua place of utterance. This contrast with standard perdurantism which does not treat time and space as consisting of qua objects.

  12. 12.

    A sophisticated version of a theory that enables this was defended by Tomis Kapitan (cf. Kapitan 2001; Babb 2019).

  13. 13.

    Such metaphysics can be combined with the idea of primitive senses (Tichy 1986) to provide an attractive solution to the problem of the nature of higher-order senses.


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Ciecierski, T. (2019). Hybrid Expressions. In: Bella, G., Bouquet, P. (eds) Modeling and Using Context. CONTEXT 2019. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 11939. Springer, Cham.

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