Michael Devitt développe une théorie causale hybride des noms propres non vides et des certains termes singuliers qui leur ressemblent sémantiquement. Il considère que l'utilisation d'un nom désigne un objet non pas en raison des différentes informations que nous connaissons, mais par un réseau causal qui part des premières utilisations du nom pour désigner l'objet, à travers un « prêt de référence » à partir des utilisations précédentes. La théorie développée par Devitt partage avec les théories descriptives la capacité de (...) rendre compte de certaines particularités du langage naturel. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.15794.84161. (shrink)
Gareth Evans a déclaré que la théorie causale de la référence doit être élargie pour inclure ce qu'il appelle des « bases multiples ». Après le baptême initial, l'utilisation du nom en présence de la personne peut, dans les bonnes circonstances, être considérée comme renforçant le nom dans son référent. Pour ceux qui sont en contact direct avec la personne, la référence pour l'expression du nom est résolue au moyen d'une chaîne causale qui inclut les personnes qui l'ont connue lors (...) du « baptême », ou en indexant la personne au nom au moment de la communication. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.27380.37763. (shrink)
Since the 1960s, Kripke has been a central figure in several fields related to mathematical logic, language philosophy, mathematical philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology and set theory. He had influential and original contributions to logic, especially modal logic, and analytical philosophy, with a semantics of modal logic involving possible worlds, now called Kripke semantics. In Naming and Necessity, Kripke proposed a causal theory of reference, according to which a name refers to an object by virtue of a causal connection with the object, (...) mediated by the communities of speakers. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.26557.20964. (shrink)
Michael Devitt dezvoltă o teorie cauzală hibridă a numelor proprii negoale și a anumitor termeni singulari care seamănă semantic cu acestea. Acesta consideră că utilizarea unui nume, desemnează un obiect nu în virtutea diferitelor informații pe care le știm despre el, ci a unei rețele de cauzalitate care începe de la primele utilizări ale numelui pentru a desemna obiectul, printr-un "împrumut de referință" de la utilizările anterioare. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.25499.41769.
Gareth Evans, in The Causal Theory of Names, states that the causal theory of reference needs to be expanded to include what he calls multiple "bases". After the initial baptism, the use of the name in the presence of the person can, under the right circumstances, be considered as reinforcing the name in its referent. For those who are in direct contact with the person, the reference for the expression of the name is solved by means of a causal chain (...) that includes people who knew him during the "baptism", or by indexing the person to the name at the time of communication. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.28651.08484 . (shrink)
Evidențierea și compararea principalelor teorii cauzale ale referinței pentru nume proprii, și propunerea unei noi abordări pe baza analogiei lanțului cauzal al referinței cu lanțul de blocuri din tehnologia blockchain și teoria narativă a lui Paul Ricœur. După o scurtă Introducere în care trec în revistă tipurile de propoziții din conceptul de lumi posibile, și o prezentare generală a teoriei în Teoria cauzală a referinței, prezint teoria cauzală inițială a referinței propusă de Saul Kripke, apoi două teorii cauzale hibride dezvoltate (...) de Gareth Evans și Michael Devitt. În secțiunea Blockchain și arborele cauzal al referinței prezint ideea dezvoltării unei noi teorii cauzale a referinței pentru nume proprii printr-un arbore cauzal al referinței. În Concluzii vorbesc despre dezvoltarea ulterioară a modurilor în care termenii referențiali s-ar putea referi la anumite obiecte și indivizi, principalele critici ale teoriilor cauzale, și sugestii de dezvoltare pe viitor. -/- CUPRINS: -/- Abstract Introducere 1. Teoria cauzală a referinței 2. Saul Kripke 3. Gareth Evans 4. Michael Devitt 5. Blockchain și arborele cauzal al referinței Concluzii Bibliografie -/- DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.23906.89289. (shrink)
Michael Devitt develops a hybrid causal theory of non-empty proper names and certain singular terms that semantically resemble them. He considers that the use of a name designates an object not by virtue of the different information we know about it, but by a causal network that starts from the first uses of the name to designate the object, through a "reference borrowing" from the previous uses. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.35828.50564.
Dans Naming and Necessity, Saul Kripke a proposé une théorie causale de la référence selon laquelle un nom se réfère à un objet en vertu d'une connexion causale avec l'objet, médiatisée par les communautés de locuteurs. Il déclare également que les noms propres, contrairement à la plupart des descriptions, sont des désignations rigides (le nom propre fait référence à l'objet nommé dans tout monde possible dans lequel l'objet existe)Les idées de Naming and Necessity ont évolué au fil du temps, se (...) développant sur la base de recherches formelles antérieures en théorie des modèles pour la logique modale, basées sur le principe leibnizien d'identité des indiscernables. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.23511.09122 . (shrink)
Într-un articol anterior, Filosofia tehnologiei blockchain - Ontologii, am vorbit despre aplicarea teoriei narative a lui Paul Ricœur în dezvoltarea unei ontologii a tehnologiei blockchain. În acest articol intenționez să evidențiez ideea unei analogii între tehnologia blockchain și teoriile cauzale ale referinței. În măsura în care aprofundarea ulterioară a acestei idei se va dovedi viabilă, voi încerca să dezvolt o teorie pe baza acestei analogii. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.11641.83048.
Les théories descriptives ont tenté d'éliminer certaines contradictions logiques si les noms étaient considérés comme des descriptions définitives. Kripke a rejeté la validité de ces théories descriptives en faisant valoir qu'aucune description unique de l'identité n'était nécessaire, les descriptions d'identification peuvent être utilisées même si la référence n'a pas été correctement identifiée, et une description (par opposition à un nom) ne peut pas fonctionner comme un indicateur rigide. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.22215.85920.
Teoriile descriptiviste au încercat să elimine anumite contradicții logice dacă numele erau considerate descrieri definite. Kripke a respins valabilitatea acestor teoriile descriptiviste argumentând că nu este nevoie de o descriere unică a identității, se pot utiliza descrieri identificatoare chiar dacă referința nu a fost identificată corect, și o descriere (spre deosebire de un nume) nu poate funcționa ca indicator rigid. Ulterior, teoriile descriptiviste au extins această idee a descrierii definite la un set de descrieri sau o medie ponderată a acestor (...) descrieri. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.25776.00009. (shrink)
In a previous article, Philosophy of Blockchain Technology - Ontologies, I talked about applying Paul Ricœur's narrative theory in developing an ontology of blockchain technology. In this article I intend to highlight the idea of an analogy between blockchain technology and the causal theories of reference. Such a theory can be interpreted as a result of syntactic notation in a reference field, based on the narrative theory developed by Paul Ricœur in Time and Narrative. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.26682.95684.
Causal theories of reference describe how terms acquire specific references (especially logical terms, proper names, and natural terms) based on evidence. In the case of names, a causal theory of reference assumes that 1) the referent of the name is fixed by an original designation (called by Saul Kripke "initial baptism"), after which the name becomes a rigid designator of that object; 2) the name is subsequently transmitted by communication through a causal chain. Saul Kripke and Hilary Putnam proposed the (...) extension of causal theory to natural terms. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.35625.75364 . (shrink)
În Numire și necesitate Kripke a propus o teorie cauzală a referinței, conform căreia un nume se referă la un obiect prin virtutea unei conexiuni cauzale cu obiectul, mediată de comunitățile vorbitorilor. El afirmă, de asemenea, că numele proprii, spre deosebire de majoritatea descrierilor, sunt desemnări rigide (numele propriu se referă la obiectul numit în orice lume posibilă în care obiectul există). Ideile din Numire și necesitate au evoluat în timp, dezvoltându-se pe baza cercetărilor formale anterioare în teoria modelelor pentru (...) logica modală, pe baza principiului leibnizian al indiscernabilității identicilor. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.16140.56968. (shrink)
Presentation and comparison of the main causal theories of reference for proper names, and a proposal of a new approach based on the analogy of the causal chain of reference with the block chain from blockchain technology and Paul Ricœur's narrative theory. After a brief Introduction in which the types of sentences from the concept of possible worlds are reviewed, and an overview of the theory in the Causal Theory of Reference, I present the causal theory of the reference proposed (...) by Saul Kripke, then two hybrid causal theories developed by Gareth Evans and Michael Devitt. In the section Blockchain and the causal tree of reference I present my idea of developing a new causal theory of reference for proper names through a causal tree of reference. In the Conclusions I talk about the further development of the ways in which the terms of reference could refer to certain objects and individuals, the main criticisms of the causal theories, and suggestions for future development. -/- CONTENTS: -/- Abstract Introduction 1. The causal theory of reference 2. Saul Kripke 3. Gareth Evans 4. Michael Devitt 5. Blockchain and the causal tree of reference Conclusions Bibliografie -/- DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.26330.90562 . (shrink)
Gareth Evans, în Teoria cauzală a numelor, a afirmat că teoria cauzală a referinței trebuie să fie extinsă pentru a include ceea el numește "baze multiple". După botezul inițial, folosirea numelui în prezența persoanei poate, în circumstanțele potrivite, să fie considerată ca întărind numele în referentul său. Pentru cei care sunt în contact direct cu persoana, referința pentru exprimarea numelui se rezolvă printr-un un lanț cauzal care include persoane care au cunoscut-o cu ocazia ”botezului”, sau prin fixarea indexabilă a persoanei (...) la nume în momentul comunicării. Lanțul cauzal poate continua printr-o serie de utilizări referențiale a numelui pe tot parcursul vieții persoanei. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.15793.53607. (shrink)
The work of Kripke, Putnam, Kaplan, and others initiated a tradition in philosophy that has come to be known as anti-descriptivism. I argue that when properly interpreted, Wilfrid Sellars is a staunch anti-descriptivist. Not only does he accept most of the conclusions drawn by the more famous anti-descriptivists, he goes beyond their critiques to reject the fundamental tenant of descriptivism—that understanding a linguistic expression consists in mentally grasping its meaning and associating that meaning with the expression. I show that Sellars’ (...) alternative accounts of language and the mind provide novel justifications for the anti-descriptivists’ conclusions. Finally, I present what I take to be a Sellarsian analysis of an important anti-descriptivist issue: the relation between metaphysical modal notions (e.g., possibility) and epistemic modal notions (e.g., conceivability). The account I present involves extension of the strategy he uses to explain both the relation between physical object concepts (e.g., whiteness) and sensation concepts (e.g., the appearance of whiteness), and the relation between concepts that apply to linguistic activity (e.g., sentential meaning) and those that apply to conceptual activity (e.g., thought content). (shrink)
In this paper I revisit an important response to the Moral Twin Earth (MTE) challenge: The Common Functional Role strategy (CFR). I argue that CFR is open to a revenge problem. MTE-cases allegedly show that two linguistic communities can be in genuine disagreement even when they are regulated by distinct families of properties. CFR provides a way to reconcile the intuition that the two communities are in genuine disagreement with the claim that the use of moral terms by both communities (...) is causally regulated by different families of properties. This is done by identifying a functional role that those families of properties both fulfill. Still, even if CFR is successful, its proponents need to face a serious revenge problem. Roughly, it could be that the families of properties that regulate each community are equally perfect realizers of the relevant higher-order functional state. I suggest that the proponent of CFR faces a dilemma: either CFR has controversial implications about first-order moral theory, or CFR needs to be coupled with substantive and parochial empirical/metaphysical assumptions to avoid those implications. (shrink)
Could Christians and Muslims be referring to the same God? For an account of the reference of divine names, I follow Bogardus and Urban (2017) in advocating in favour of using Gareth Evans’s causal theory of reference, on which a name refers to the dominant source of information in the name’s “dossier”. However, I argue further that information about experiences, in which God is simply the object of acquaintance, can dominate the dossier. Thus, this demonstrative use of names offers a (...) promising alternative avenue by which users of the divine names can refer to the same referent despite having different conceptions of God. I also respond to Burling’s (2019) worship-worthiness view. (shrink)
This paper addresses two problems concerning the deferred ostension of extinct and fictive kinds. First, the sampled item, the fossil or the depiction, is not a sample of the referent. Nonetheless, the retained characteristic shape, understood via analogy with living creatures, enables the reference to be fixed. Second, though both extinct and fictive kinds are targets of deferred ostension, there is an important difference in the sample. Fossilization is a natural causal process that makes fossils to be reflections of their (...) originals. As reflections, fossils embed their referents in the primary existential world of perceived things. Images of artificial kinds, by contrast, leave their referents in the secondary existential world of mere appearance. In this way, the paper widens the scope of the Kripke-Putnam account of ostension for naming kinds by drawing on Quine’s concept of deferred ostension for absent referents. (shrink)
Recent experimental studies have claimed to find evidence for the view that natural kind terms such as “water” are ambiguous: that they have two extensions, one determined by superficial properties, the other by underlying essence. In an online experiment, we presented to 600 participants scenarios describing discoveries of novel samples that differ in deep structure from samples of a familiar kind but are superficially identical, such as a water-like substance that is not composed of H2O. We used three different types (...) of question sets to probe whether the participants considered the sample as a member of the kind or not. Our results did not confirm the predictions of the ambiguity view. They were, rather, consistent with views that take underlying essences to be the sole criterion for membership in a natural kind. (shrink)
This article aims to show that the alleged incompatibility of the views of Wittgenstein and Kripke is sometimes more specious than real. It is suggested that there are, underneath the surface, interesting points of contact between these two philosophers. Kripke’s views on names and reference are arguably not vulnerable to Wittgenstein’s critique of “the Augustinian Picture of Language” and of ostensive definitions. The attitudes of these two philosophers towards theories in philosophy are not as dissimilar as many have quickly judged (...) either. Certain “Wittgensteinian” critiques of Kripke and popular interpretations of Kripke which exaggerate his commitment to extreme natural kind essentialism are critically assessed. The nature of Kripke’s disputed idea on necessary a posteriori is clarified. It is suggested that perhaps Wittgenstein was not as unequivocally a semantic internalist as some of his ardent followers have insisted. (shrink)
As the title suggests, this paper is something of a leftover – or perhaps a new branch – to my "Meaning in Time: on temporal externalism and Kripkenstein’s skeptical challenge". In that work I essayed to portray my understanding of the sceptical challenge uncovered by Saul Kripke’s reading of Wittgenstein’s later works in a nutshell as to its nature and resolution. Here, my task is to dig a little deeper into the key phrase of the earlier paper, namely the claim (...) that meanings, facts grounding meaning facts, and ascriptions of meaning have an important historical dimension to them. In particular, I explore the ideas that (i) the problem of finitude is fundamentally a logical and not a metaphysical problem and (ii) Devitt's development of Kripke's causal-historical theory of reference implies a natural explanation for how at least the meanings of some terms can have a historical dimension. (shrink)
Joseph Almog pointed out that Kripkean causal chains not only exist for names, but for all linguistic items (Almog 1984: 482). Based on this, he argues that the role of such chains is the presemantic one of assigning a linguistic meaning to the use of a name (1984: 484). This view is consistent with any number of theories about what such a linguistic meaning could be, and hence with very different views about the semantic reference of names. He concludes that (...) the causal theory is ‘rather trivial’ (1984: 487). In this paper I argue that Almog is correct to hold that the causal theory is trivial, but, contra Almog, argue that the triviality of the existence of causal chains is not a matter of such chains having a presemantic role in assigning linguistic meanings to utterances. Instead, such triviality is due to the fact that the causal theory reflects no more than a truism about the epistemology of convention acquisition. (shrink)
Recent work in cognitive psychology and experimental semantics indicates that people do not categorize natural kinds solely by virtue of their purported scientific essence. Two attempts have been made to explain away the data by appealing to the idea that participants in these studies are reasoning diagnostically. I will argue that an appeal to diagnostic reasoning will likely not help to explain away the data.
Since Saul Kripke’s and Hilary Putnam’s groundbreaking work in the Seventies, the idea has emerged that natural kind terms are semantically special among common nouns. Stephen P. Schwartz, for example, has argued that an artifactual kind term like “pencil” functions very differently from a natural kind term like “tiger.” This, however, blatantly violates a principle that I call Semantic Uniformity. In this paper, I defend the principle. In particular, I outline a picture of how natural kind terms function based on (...) Kripke’s and Putnam’s considerations, and I use it to rebut Schwartz’s arguments, showing that if it works for natural kind terms, it can work for artifactual kind terms too, or at least that Schwartz did not provide good enough reasons to the contrary. (shrink)
I reply to comments and criticism of my book Roads to Reference by Scott Soames (on the referents of ordinary substance terms and the conventions governing reference fixing for demonstratives, proper names, and color adjectives), Panu Raatikainen (on the exact scope of my critique of descriptivism and on the relation between referential indeterminacy and ‘‘partial reference’’), and Michael Devitt (on the role of referential intentions and anti-descriptivism in the metasemantics of demonstratives).
In this paper, we present and discuss the findings of two experiments about reference change. Cases of reference change have sometimes been invoked to challenge traditional versions of semantic externalism, but the relevant cases have never been tested empirically. The experiments we have conducted use variants of the famous Twin Earth scenario to test folk intuitions about whether natural kind terms such as ‘water’ or ‘salt’ switch reference after being constantly (mis)applied to different kinds. Our results indicate that this is (...) indeed so. We argue that this finding is evidence against Saul Kripke’s causal-historical view of reference, and at least provisional evidence in favor of the causal source view of reference as suggested by Gareth Evans and Michael Devitt. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to examine the theoretical architecture of semantic atomism and its consequences with respect to natural language. In particular, it looks to explore the notion of possible concepts using the fundamental distinction between simple and complex concepts and expressions in Jerry Fodor’s atomism. The distinction is exploited to produce an unusual type of concept referred to as a correlate, which effectively mirrors complex concepts while maintaining a distinct underlying structure. Though harmless in and of themselves, (...) their presence in the context of polymorphemic expressions suggests that atomism harbors a tacit and unintuitive form of polysemy that is problematic in its own right and that leads to other complications, some of which may be demonstrated on the example of communication. These issues are tied to the way atomism is structured, and although they seem to have gone largely unnoticed, they appear to bear negatively on the adequacy of atomism where natural language is concerned. (shrink)
Evans (1973)’s Madagascar case and other cases like it have long been taken to represent a serious challenge for the Causal Theory of Names. The present essay answers this challenge on behalf of the causal theorist. The key is to treat acts of uttering names as events. Like other events, utterances of names sometimes turn out to have features which only become clear in retrospect.
Philosophical treatments of natural kinds are embedded in two distinct projects. I call these the philosophy of science approach and the philosophy of language approach. Each is characterized by its own set of philosophical questions, concerns, and assumptions. The kinds studied in the philosophy of science approach are projectible categories that can ground inductive inferences and scientific explanation. The kinds studied in the philosophy of language approach are the referential objects of a special linguistic category—natural kind terms—thought to refer directly. (...) Philosophers may hope for a unified account addresses both sets of concerns. This paper argues that this cannot be done successfully. No single account can satisfy both the semantic objectives of the philosophy of language approach and the explanatory projects of the philosophy of science approach. After analyzing where the tensions arise, I make recommendations about assumptions and projects that are best abandoned, those that should be retained, and those that should go their separate ways. I also recommend adopting the disambiguating terminology of “scientific kinds” and “natural kinds” for the different notions of kinds developed in these different approaches. (shrink)
This Handbook offers students and more advanced readers a valuable resource for understanding linguistic reference; the relation between an expression (word, phrase, sentence) and what that expression is about. The volume’s forty-one original chapters, written by many of today’s leading philosophers of language, are organized into ten parts: I Early Descriptive Theories II Causal Theories of Reference III Causal Theories and Cognitive Significance IV Alternate Theories V Two-Dimensional Semantics VI Natural Kind Terms and Rigidity VII The Empty Case VIII Singular (...) (De Re) Thoughts IX Indexicals X Epistemology of Reference Contributions consider what kinds of expressions actually refer (names, general terms, indexicals, empty terms, sentences), what referring expressions refer to, what makes an expression refer to whatever it does, connections between meaning and reference, and how we know facts about reference. Many contributions also develop connections between linguistic reference and issues in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science. (shrink)
Frege's Puzzle is a founding problem in analytic philosophy. It lies at the intersection of central topics in the philosophy of language and mind: the theory of reference, the nature of propositional attitudes, the nature of semantic theorizing, the relation between semantics and pragmatics, etc. This chapter is an overview of the puzzle and of the space of contemporary approaches to it.
Unlike conceptual analysis, conceptual engineering does not aim to identify the content that our current concepts do have, but the content which these concepts should have. For this method to show the results that its practitioners typically aim for, being able to change meanings seems to be a crucial presupposition. However, certain branches of semantic externalism raise doubts about whether this presupposition can be met. To the extent that meanings are determined by external factors such as causal histories or microphysical (...) structures, it seems that they cannot be changed intentionally. This paper gives an extended discussion of this ‘externalist challenge’. Pace Herman Cappelen’s recent take on this issue, it argues that the viability of conceptual engineering crucially depends on our ability to bring about meaning change. Furthermore, it argues that, contrary to first appearance, causal theories of reference do allow for a sufficient degree of meaning control. To this purpose, it argues that there is a sense of what is called ‘collective long-range control’, and that popular versions of the causal theory of reference imply that people have this kind of control over meanings. (shrink)
Referring to ‘God,’ either directly or indirectly, has been problematic since God is obviously not reducible to a simple description. We assume that ‘God’ can refer to something but finding which mechanism is most promising will help us figure out how we can refer to Him successfully. I argue that the causal theory of reference, with Meghan Sullivan’s theory of semantic inspiration, and the everyday judgments of ‘God’ lead us to conclude that the reference to God is direct.
The new externalist picture of natural kind terms due to Kripke, Putnam, and others has become quite popular in philosophy. Many philosophers of science have remained sceptical. Häggqvist and Wikforss have recently criticised this view severely. They contend it depends essentially on a micro-essentialist view of natural kinds that is widely rejected among philosophers of science, and that a scientifically reasonable metaphysics entails the resurrection of some version of descriptivism. It is argued in this paper that the situation is not (...) quite as dark for the new theory of reference as many critics suggest. There are several distinct questions here which should not be conflated and ought to be dealt with one by one. Descriptivism remains arguably problematic. (shrink)
Roads to Reference: An Essay on Reference Fixing in Natural Language by Mario Gómez-Torrente provides an ample attack against certain more recent variants of descriptivism in the theory of reference. The book discusses a wide variety of expressions, but the focus of this short note is on proper names and natural kind terms. In the case of proper names, indeterminacy plays an important role in Gómez-Torrente’s critical argument. Some questions related to it are raised. As to natural kind terms, the (...) differences between ordinary kind terms and scientific kind terms are discussed, and the somewhat ignored relevance of reference borrowing for natural kind terms is emphasized. (shrink)
For the past half-century, both jurisprudence and epistemology have been haunted by questions about why individual evidence (i.e., evidence which picks out a specific individual) can sufficiently justify a guilty or liable verdict while bare statistical evidence (i.e., statistical evidence which does not pick out a specific individual) does not sufficiently justify such a verdict. This thesis examines three popular justifications for such a disparity in verdicts – Judith Jarvis Thomson’s causal account, Enoch et al.’s sensitivity account, and Sarah Moss’ (...) knowledge-first account, before critiquing each in turn. After such an analysis, the thesis then defends the claim that legal verdicts require the factfinder (e.g., the judge or jury) to have a justified de re belief (i.e., a belief about a specific object – namely the defendant), and that this doxastic requirement justifies the disparity in rulings, as it is epistemically insufficient to justify a de re belief based on bare statistical evidence alone. A brief account of how these beliefs are formed and spread is also given. After making such a distinction, the thesis then formalizes the burdens of proof of the preponderance of the evidence and beyond a reasonable doubt using the de re/de dicto distinction. Finally, the thesis pre-empts possible objections, namely by providing an account of DNA evidence as individual evidence and giving an account of how false convictions can occur on the de re view of legal proof. (shrink)
Philosophers of mind and language who advance causal theories face a sort of conjunction problem. When we say that the thing had in mind or the thing referred to is a matter of what causally impacted the thinker or speaker, we must somehow narrow down the long conjunction of items in a causal chain, all of which contributed to the having in mind, but only one of which becomes the object of thought or the linguistic referent. Here, I sketch a (...) notion of cognitive focus intended to do this narrowing. The notion borrows three key aspects from visual focus and some technological aides—causation, amplification, and suppression. I suggest a broader application of this framework to address the conjunction problem not only in ordinary contexts of perceptual focus but also in evidence cases involving non-perceptual cognitive focus. I further suggest cognitive focus is helpful in distinguishing referential vs. attributive thought. (shrink)
Around 1970, both Keith Donnellan and Saul Kripke produced powerful arguments against description theories of proper names. They also offered sketches of positive accounts of proper name reference, highlighting the crucial role played by historical facts that might be unknown to the speaker. Building on these sketches, in the following years Michael Devitt elaborated his well-known causal theory of proper names. As I have argued elsewhere, however, contrary to what is commonly assumed, Donnellan’s and Kripke’s sketches point in two rather (...) different directions, by appealing to historical or causal facts of different sorts. In this paper, I shall discuss and criticize Devitt’s causal theory, which confuses things, I shall argue, by mixing, so to speak, Donnellan’s and Kripke’s sketches. (shrink)
If different translations of the same literary work have different syntaxes and semantics, how are they supposed to be about one and the same fictional character? In order to answer this question it’s necessary to (a) know what fictional characters are and (b) present reference conditions for them. Relying on Amie Thomasson’s (1999, 2003, 2007) and Saul Kripke’s (1980, 2013) works I argue that fictional characters are abstract artifacts whose reference is fixed by the baptism performed by an author; and (...) that the identity of a fictional character is preserved due to the maintenance of the same chain of reference. Finally, I show how translators maintain the chain of reference initiated by the author of a given work and how consequently a fictional character remains the same abstract artifact throughout different translations. (shrink)
Destutt de Tracy zielt darauf ab, zu erklären, wie inter- und transsubjektive Prozesse auf das einzelne Individuum wirken und es gestalten. Dafür braucht er eine externalistische Sprachtheorie und eine sensualistische kognitive Architektur, nach der Denken Empfinden ist. Das Denken ist relational, aber wird nicht auf kognitiver Ebene durch sprachähnliche Strukturen – durch die Syntax und Semantik einer Mentalsprache – implementiert. Obwohl Externalismus und sensualistische Architektur in eine inkohärente Theorie zu münden scheinen, versucht Destutt de Tracy die Spannung durch seine Entwicklungsgeschichte (...) zu lösen, nach der Systematizität als assoziativ und symbolisch, aber nicht als sprachlich analysiert wird. Zum Denken ist eine Sprache notwendig, aber das Denken ist keine Mentalsprache. -/- „[Wir sind] fast gänzlich das Werk Der Umstände, die uns umgeben.“ [Ideenlehre I, 273/388]. (shrink)
The most popular and influential strategies used against semantic externalism and the causal theory of reference are critically examined. It is argued that upon closer scrutiny, none of them emerges as truly convincing.
The new theory of reference has won popularity. However, a number of noted philosophers have also attempted to reply to the critical arguments of Kripke and others, and aimed to vindicate the description theory of reference. Such responses are often based on ingenious novel kinds of descriptions, such as rigidified descriptions, causal descriptions, and metalinguistic descriptions. This prolonged debate raises the doubt whether different parties really have any shared understanding of what the central question of the philosophical theory of reference (...) is: what is the main question to which descriptivism and the causal-historical theory have presented competing answers. One aim of the paper is to clarify this issue. The most influential objections to the new theory of reference are critically reviewed. Special attention is also paid to certain important later advances in the new theory of reference, due to Devitt and others. (shrink)
Uma das características mais interessantes da filosofia é sua capacidade de revelar problemas difíceis em lugares inesperados. É precisamente isto que ocorre com o caso dos nomes próprios. Usamos nomes cotidianamente para selecionar ou fazer referência a objetos particulares, e depois podermos dizer algo sobre eles. Talvez o leitor diga a um colega que gostaria de estar tomando um café em Paris, ao invés de gastar tempo lendo mais um livro de filosofia. Neste caso, estará usando o nome “Paris” para (...) se referir a um lugar específico do universo. O que você acaba de fazer não é meramente proferir um som, mas proferir um som que de alguma forma lhe permite selecionar uma localidade específica dentre todas as outras do universo. É desta localidade que você fala. Mas como isto é possível? Que tipo de mecanismo garante a alguém o poder de proferir um nome e, com isto, selecionar um particular específico dentre todos os outros do universo? Este é o problema da referência singular dos nomes próprios. O presente livro é sobre este problema. -/- . (shrink)
Our main focus in this paper is Herman Cappelen’s claim, defended in Fixing Language, that reference is radically inscrutable. We argue that Cappelen’s inscrutability thesis should be rejected. We also highlight how rejecting inscrutability undermines Cappelen’s most radical conclusions about conceptual engineering. In addition, we raise a worry about his positive account of topic continuity through inquiry and debate.
Les principales théories causales de la référence pour les noms propres, et la proposition d'une nouvelle approche basée sur l'analogie de la chaîne des blocs de la technologie de blockchain et la théorie narrative de Paul Ricœur. Après une brève Introduction dans laquelle sont passés en revue les types de propositions du concept de mondes possibles et une vue d'ensemble de la théorie dans La théorie causale de la référence, je présente la théorie causale initiale de la référence proposée par (...) Saul Kripke, puis deux théories causales hybrides développées par Gareth Evans et Michael Devitt. Dans la section Blockchain et l'arbre causal de la référence je présente mon idée de développer une nouvelle théorie causale de la référence pour les noms propres à l'aide d'un arbre causal de la référence. Dans les Conclusions, je parle du développement ultérieur des modes dont les termes de référence pourraient faire référence à certains objets et individus, les principales critiques des théories causales et des suggestions pour un développement futur. SOMMAIRE: Abstract Introduction 1. La théorie causale de la référence 2. Saul Kripke 3. Gareth Evans 4. Michael Devitt 5. Blockchain et l'arbre causal de la référence Conclusions Bibliografie DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.18713.77921 . (shrink)
In this paper, I argue from a metasemantic principle to the existence of analytic sentences. According to the metasemantic principle, an external feature is relevant to determining which concept one expresses with an expression only if one is disposed to treat this feature as relevant. This entails that if one isn’t disposed to treat external features as relevant to determining which concept one expresses, and one still expresses a given concept, then something other than external features must determine that one (...) does. I argue that, in such cases, what determines that one expresses the concept also puts one in a position to know that certain sentences are true—these sentences are thus analytic relative to this determination basis. Finally, I argue that there are such cases: some sentences are analytic relative to what determines that we express certain key concepts, and these sentences include ones that have always been thought to be the best candidates for being analytic, namely, stipulative truths, and first principles of mathematics. (shrink)
How is it that words come to stand for the things they stand for? Is the thing that a word stands for - its reference - fully identified or described by conventions known to the users of the word? Or is there a more roundabout relation between the reference of a word and the conventions that determine or fix it? Do words like 'water', 'three', and 'red' refer to appropriate things, just as the word 'Aristotle' refers to Aristotle? If so, (...) which things are these, and how do they come to be referred to by those words? -/- In Roads to Reference, Mario Gómez-Torrente provides novel answers to these and other questions that have been of traditional interest in the theory of reference. The book introduces a number of cases of apparent indeterminacy of reference for proper names, demonstratives, and natural kind terms, which suggest that reference-fixing conventions for them adopt the form of lists of merely sufficient conditions for reference and reference failure. He then provides arguments for a new anti-descriptivist picture of those kinds of words, according to which the reference-fixing conventions for them do not describe their reference. This book also defends realist and objectivist accounts of the reference of ordinary natural kind nouns, numerals, and adjectives for sensible qualities. According to these accounts these words refer, respectively, to 'ordinary kinds', cardinality properties, and properties of membership in intervals of sensible dimensions, and these things are fixed in subtle ways by associated reference-fixing conventions. (shrink)