Evans, Gareth (1946–1980).
Philosopher of language and mind who held the Wylde Reader in Mental Philosophy at Oxford until his tragic death at the early age of 34 in 1980. Evans' research was aimed at understanding semantics, and he produced seminal work on proper names, pronouns, indexicals, demonstratives, and vagueness. One distinctive feature of Evans' approach was that his accounts of the semantics of expressions of some of these kinds of expression made appeal to the perceptual and cognitive operations of users of the language. It was for this reason – that in some cases he took the analysis of thought to precede the analysis of language – that Michael D ummett (1993, p. 4) described Evans as the first post-analytic philosopher of language. As for demonstratives and indexicals , Evans followed F rege in recognizing the need for an account of the sense of these expressions, in addition to their reference . The sense of a demonstrative or indexical expression is to be understood, for Evans, as the way in which the hearer of the expression must think about the object referred to if she is to correctly understand the expression. Thus, for Evans, some kinds of referring expression have a Fregean sense, meaning that in order for a hearer to understand an utterance employing that expression they must think of the referent in a particular way. But not all referring expressions have this feature. Evans' ... log in or subscribe to read full text
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