Institut Jean Nicod

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January 22 : Santiago Echeverri (IJN)

January 22, from 16.30 to 18.30 in the meeting room, 29 rue d’Ulm, Pavillon Jardin

Santiago Echeverri (IJN)
"Cognitive Value without Modes of Presentation"


According to an orthodox view, co-referential expressions like “Hesperus” and “Phosphorus” are associated with different modes of presentation. This explains why a competent and rational speaker who finds the sentence “Hesperus is Hesperus” trivial can find the sentence “Hesperus is Phosphorus” informative. This paper introduces a novel account based on the notion of identification abilities. Instead of explaining differences in cognitive value in semantic terms, I propose to account for them by means of psychological principles that govern identification routines. I call these principles “constraints,” and show that they differ from traditional modes of presentation in various ways. To this end, I show how perceptual tracking is governed by constraints, and how it is enhanced by the use of the shape of words as a ‘proxy’ of sameness and difference in reference.