On Reference

On Reference

by Andrea Bianchi (Editor)


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Most of the times we open our mouth to communicate, we talk about things. This can happen because (some of) the linguistic expressions we use have semantic properties that connect them to extra-linguistic entities. Thanks to these properties, they may be used by us to refer to things. Or, as we may also say, they themselves refer to things, though in certain cases they do so only relative to a context of use. But how can we characterize the semantic properties in question? What exactly is reference? Philosophers have been trying to answer these questions at least since Plato's Cratylus, but not until the last century, when language occupied center-stage in philosophy, did the problem come to be felt as really pressing. In the last decade of the nineteenth century, Gottlob Frege produced an account of reference that set the stage for the contemporary discussion. Nevertheless, around 1970 a number of powerful arguments against it were produced by Saul Kripke and others. As a result, many philosophers began to look at reference from a new perspective, which highlighted the crucial role played in its determination by mundane aspects that are not under the direct control of the speaker. This semantic revolution, however, left us with a number of open problems. The eighteen original essays collected in this volume deal with many of these problems, thus contributing to our understanding of the nature of reference, its role in cognition, and the place it should be given in semantic theory.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780198714088
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 05/05/2015
Pages: 360
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Andrea Bianchi, Universita degli Studi di Parma

Andrea Bianchi is an Assistant Professor at the Universita degli Studi di Parma.

Table of Contents

Introduction - Open Problems on Reference, Andrea Bianchi
I. The Nature of Reference
1. The Illusion of Semantic Reference, Christopher Gauker
2. Reference and Theories of Meaning as Use, Diego Marconi
3. Speaker's Reference and Cross-Cultural Semantics, Edouard Machery, Justin Sytsma, and Max Deutsch
4. Reference Without Cognition, Genoveva Marti
5. Repetition and Reference, Andrea Bianchi
6. Should Proper Names Still Seem So Problematic?, Michael Devitt
II. Reference and Cognition
7. Thinking About an Individual, Antonio Capuano
8. Drawing, Seeing, Referring: Reflections on Macbeth's Dagger, Marga Reimer
9. The Cognitive Contribution of Names, John Perry
III. Reference and Semantics
10. Names As Predicates?, Ernesto Napoli
11. Names Not Predicates, Robin Jeshion
12. 'Literal' Uses of Proper Names, Delia G. Fara
13. A Rejoinder to Fara's 'Literal' Uses of Proper Names', Robin Jeshion
14. Empty Names, Propositions, and Attitude Ascriptions, Marco Santambrogio
15. Millianism, Relationism, and Attitude Ascriptions, Angel Pinillos
16. The Dilemma of Indefinites, Sam Cumming
17. A Unified Treatment of (Pro-) Nominals in Ordinary English, Joseph Almog, Paul Nichols, and Jessica Pepp
18. Individuals Explained Away, Edward L. Keenan

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