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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: May 2012

Chapter 9 - Reference from a behaviorist point of view

Summary

This chapter is organized around an interdisciplinary understanding of demonstrative reference. It makes two different but mutually supporting points. First, if what we are interested in is the basic principles that the perceptual system employs to isolate an entity and track it over time, then location is not the deep principle. Second, theorizing about perception has been influenced by an unbalanced diet of work specifically on vision, at the expense of research in modalities and multimodal perception. The chapter points out that the ground level at which perception isolates and tracks entities is one below spatial location, material bodies. It addresses the issue of whether spatial location was in any way essentially linked either to perceptual processes that isolate and track objects, or reference to such objects via demonstrative expressions in natural language. The chapter gives an account of the semantics of demonstrative expressions as a semantic category.

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