Gregory Bochner

junior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2018/2019
discipline Philosophy
Chargé de Recherche, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB).

Research project

Essential Indexicality


At the intersection of philosophy (of mind and language) and linguistics (semantics and pragmatics), this project deals with the so-called “problem of the essential indexical” (PEI). Indexicals are words like ‘I’, ‘now’, ‘here’, or ‘this’, whose referent varies according to the context of their use. Around 1970, it was noticed that some thoughts cannot be communicated without the help of indexicals. It appeared that such “self-locating” thoughts (about who and where one is in the world) represent the world essentially from a situated perspective in the world. Since then, many theories have sought to explain in what sense exactly, and why, indexicality would be essential; but no consensus was ever reached. Lately, new sceptics have argued that essential indexicality was a myth. Their ingenious arguments have generated a heated debate about the nature and scope of the PEI, which must be entirely re-assessed. The aim of this project is to explore a novel approach to the PEI. This reverses some insights due to the sceptics to argue for a radical conclusion: the phenomenon of essential indexicality was real but much more general than had originally been supposed.




Gregory Bochner is post-doctoral researcher, Chargé de Recherche (Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique-FNRS) at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). He holds a PhD both in Linguistics from the ULB, and in Philosophy of Language from the Institut Jean Nicod, EHESS.  He has conducted post-doctoral research at universities in Bologna, New York (NYU), Barcelona (LOGOS), Brussels, and Fribourg (Switzerland). He was awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship to continue his research at the Institut Jean Nicod (ENS, Paris) in 2019-2021.


Gregory Bochner work bears on foundational issues about content and reference in language and thought. His research themes include theories of (direct) reference, the various ways in which meaning is context-dependent,  speech acts, indexicality and perspective, the internalism-externalism controversies, the epistemic transparency of linguistic and mental content, de se attitudes, propositions and possible world semantics, Intentionality, the nature of content, and the philosophical foundations of pragmatics.


Selected publications


‘Singular Truth-Conditions without Singular Propositions’, Synthese, vol. 195, no. 6, 2018, pp. 2741-2760.


‘Assertion De Re’, in P. Brezillon, R. Turner & C. Penco (eds), Modeling and Using Context, Springer International, 2017, pp. 3-14.


‘Essential Indexicality without Self-Location’, in P. Stalmaszczyk (ed.), Philosophical and Linguistic Analyses of Reference, Peter Lang, Bern, 2016, pp.107-122.


‘The Anti-Individualist Revolution in the Philosophy of Language’, Linguistics and Philosophy, vol. 37, no. 2, 2014, pp. 91-120.


‘The Metasyntactic Interpretation of Two-Dimensionalism’, Philosophical Studies, vol. 163, no. 3, 2013, pp. 611-626.



senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2014/2015
Paris Institute for Advanced Study
discipline Psychology
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2015/2016
Paris Institute for Advanced Study
discipline History
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2012/2013
Paris Institute for Advanced Study
discipline History
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2017/2018
Paris Institute for Advanced Study
discipline Urban Studies