indexical expression

indexical expression

any word or expression which draws its sense only from the immediate context of its use (e.g. personal pronouns). Indexicality can be seen as a frequent feature of social concepts (and also many sociological concepts), a feature which means that SOCIAL ACTORS (as well as sociologists) must often undertake careful interpretive work to determine the meanings prevailing within particular social settings (see also HERMENEUTICS).

For ethnomethodologists, the indexicality of social concepts and social accounts means that the kind of generalized sociological and scientific accounts sought by orthodox sociologists are unattainable. However, elements of indexicality can be seen as a feature of all concepts, including those in physical science (see also INCOMMENSURABILITY, SCIENTIFIC PARADIGM, RELATIVISM). While this certainly means that science can no longer reasonably be seen in simple positivist or empiricist terms as directly referring to phenomena, this does not prevent general theories being advanced. Likewise, elements of indexicality in sociological accounts need not preclude workable general accounts (compare ETHNOMETHODOLOGY).

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
Arguably, for example, an indexical expression such as "here" imposes the condition that the referent must be the place where the expression is being uttered.
An alternative English translation occurs in Frege's Posthumous Writings, at 135.) Burge also says (400) that his interpretation is neutral concerning whether it is the indexical expression itself (for example, the word 'that') or the accompanying circumstance (a demonstration) that actually expresses the sense that determines the relevant designatum.
This will be henceforth our official definition of an indexical expression: an indexical is an expression such that any given instance of it is not linguistically required to share truth-conditional import with any other instance.
Schiffer begins by noting that if one thinks that contextual information is relevant to the interpretation of a speaker's use of an incomplete definite description, then one should concede that such contextual supplementation is often needed to interpret a speaker's use of an indexical expression as well.
A: T[upper left box]A&R[upper right box] [implies] [perpendicular to} (where "R" is an indexical expression asserting the reflexivity of possibility in the world in which it is evaluated).
So long, then, as we understand the theory to be propounded in a particular context, there is no indeterminacy in using an indexical expression such as "I" to give the Truth-conditions of an utterance.
but the fact that Kunne has physical composition in mind would seem to get him into deep water then it comes to temporal indexicals, for how could the occurrence of a proper name be composed both of the occurrence of an indexical expression and of a time?
(6) SD, then, proposes a direct analogy with indexical expressions such as "I," at least as according to their behaviour in English.
This book brings together revised versions of twelve articles published between 1995 and 2008, devoted to tense, aspect, events and indexical expressions in natural language.