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  1. A Time Traveler’s Note on Proper Names and Definite Descriptions.Xinyuan Gu - manuscript
    This essay aims to coherently introduce a four-dimensional view adapting to the three-spatial-plus-one- temporal-dimensions (3+1) physical world. To orient the discussions, the essay presents several central claims. First, the only description a proper name abbreviates is that of being called, yet a proper name is capable of bringing up the entire object from its birth to its end. Second, there is a crucial difference in the behaviors of proper names and definite descriptions. Third, a co-knowing state may be decisive in (...)
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  2. Rejecting statements with non-referring definites – experimental support for a presuppositional view.Florian Schwarz - manuscript
  3. The Quasi-Verbal Dispute Between Kripke and 'Frege-Russell'.J. P. Smit - manuscript
    Traditional descriptivism and Kripkean causalism are standardly interpreted as rival theories on a single topic. I argue that there is no such shared topic, i.e. that there is no question that they can be interpreted as giving rival answers to. The only way to make sense of the commitment to epistemic transparency that characterizes traditional descriptivism is to interpret Russell and Frege as proposing rival accounts of how to characterize a subject’s beliefs about what names refer to. My argument relies (...)
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  4. Game Theory and Demonstratives.J. P. Smit - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-20.
    This paper argues, based on Lewis’ claim that communication is a coordination game (Lewis in Minnesota studies in the philosophy of science, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, pp 3–35, 1975), that we can account for the communicative function of demonstratives without assuming that they semantically refer. The appeal of such a game theoretical version of the case for non-referentialism is that the communicative role of demonstratives can be accounted for without entering thecul de sacof trying to construct conventions of ever-increasing (...)
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  5. Metasemantics, moderate inflationism, and correspondence truth.Graham Seth Moore - 2023 - Dissertation, University of British Columbia
    An object-based correspondence theory of truth holds that a truth-bearer is true whenever its truth conditions are met by objects and their properties. In order to develop such a view, the principal task is to explain how truth-bearers become endowed with their truth conditions. Modern versions of the correspondence theory see this project as the synthesis of two theoretical endeavours: basic metasemantics and compositional semantics. Basic metasemantics is the theory of how simple, meaningful items (e.g. names and concepts) are endowed (...)
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  6. On the Alleged Incompatibility between Wittgenstein and Kripke.Panu Raatikainen - 2023 - In Martin Gustafsson, Oskari Kuusela & Jakub Mácha (eds.), Engaging Kripke with Wittgenstein: The Standard Meter, Contingent Apriori, and Beyond. New York & Oxon: Routledge. pp. 9-27.
  7. Roads to anti-descriptivism (about reference fixing): replies to Soames, Raatikainen, and Devitt.Mario Gómez-Torrente - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (3):1005-1017.
    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).
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  8. Minimal Fregeanism.Aidan Gray - 2022 - Mind 131 (522):429-458.
    Among the virtues of relationist approaches to Frege’s puzzle is that they put us in a position to outline structural features of the puzzle that were only implicit in earlier work. In particular, they allow us to frame questions about the relation between the explanatory roles of sense and sameness of sense. In this paper, I distinguish a number of positions about that relation which have not been clearly distinguished. This has a few pay-offs. It allows us to shed light (...)
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  9. Folk intuitions about reference change and the causal theory of reference.Steffen Koch & Alex Wiegmann - 2022 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 8 (25).
    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 (...)
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  10. The Routledge Handbook of Linguistic Reference.Heimir Geirsson & Stephen Biggs (eds.) - 2021 - New York: Routledge.
    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 (...)
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  11. The externalist challenge to conceptual engineering.Steffen Koch - 2021 - Synthese 198 (1):327–348.
    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 (...)
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  12. The Concept of Linguistic Reference Before Frege.Michael Losonsky - 2021 - In Heimir Geirsson (ed.), The Rouledge Handbook of Linguistic Reference. New York, NY, USA: pp. 17-29.
    This essay traces the concept of linguistic reference and its role in the determination of linguistic meaning in the history of philosophy before Frege.
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  13. Between Deflationism and Inflationism: A Moderate View on Truth and Reference.Graham Seth Moore - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (3):673-694.
    This essay argues for a two-part thesis concerning the deflationist theories of truth and reference. First, I identify two points of contrast between the deflationist theories and their traditional inflationary opponents: (1) they each employ different orders of explanation for the variety of semantic phenomena, and (2) the inflationist is typically taken to be beholden to a reductive explanation of reference, whereas the deflationist is doubtful of this project. Secondly, I argue that these two points of contrast need not come (...)
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  14. Who’s Your Ideal Listener?Ethan Nowak & Eliot Michaelson - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (2):257-270.
    It is increasingly common for philosophers to rely on the notion of an idealised listener when explaining how the semantic values of context-sensitive expressions are determined. Some have identified the semantic values of such expressions, as used on particular occasions, with whatever an appropriately idealised listener would take them to be. Others have argued that, for something to count as the semantic value, an appropriately idealised listener should be able to recover it. Our aim here is to explore the range (...)
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  15. Two-dimensional Semantics and Identity Statements.Kai-Yee Wong - 2021 - In The Routledge Handbook of Linguistic Reference. Routledge. pp. 237-256.
    In contrast to standard possible worlds semantics, possible worlds in a two-dimensional semantic framework play two kinds of roles, rather than just one. This allows the framework to assign two kinds of intensions to expressions, rather than just one. Its fruitful use in explicating modal operators and the meanings of referential expressions like indexicals has led to two-dimensional accounts that seek to revive the Fregean conception of meaning, or more specifically the descriptivist view of reference, which has fallen into disrepute (...)
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  16. Introduction: Individual Concepts in Language and Thought.Tadeusz Ciecierski & Paweł Grabarczyk - 2020 - Topoi 39 (2):349-356.
  17. Variation in Natural Kind Concepts.Daniel Cohnitz & Jussi Haukioja - 2020 - In Teresa Marques & Åsa Wikforss (eds.), Shifting Concepts. pp. 128-146.
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  18. Conceptual Revolution.Joshua Glasgow - 2020 - In Teresa Marques & Åsa Wikforss (eds.), Shifting Concepts: The Philosophy and Psychology of Conceptual Variability. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This chapter examines when a word’s meaning can change. On the view explored here, the meaning of a term is fixed by language users having certain dispositions to use the term in certain ways. Consequently, meanings change—concepts shift—when the relevant dispositions change. After the view is articulated, it is put to use defending descriptivism from some recent objections. Finally, this chapter examines the extent to which terms really replace meanings at all—conceptual revolution—or just have their meanings and references change shape—conceptual (...)
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  19. Ceteris Paribus Provisos, Knowledge of Reference-Fixing Conventions, and Proper Names. Reply to Orlando.Mario Gómez-Torrente - 2020 - Manuscrito 43 (4):35-48.
    Eleonora Orlando argues that one must understand some descriptivist theories of names that I criticize in my book Roads to Reference as ceteris paribus generalizations, and that on this understanding they survive my criticisms; she also introduces some doubts about my views on the knowledge speakers have of the reference-fixing conventions I postulate for proper names. In this note I argue against Orlando’s suggestion about ceteris paribus provisos and explain my view of the epistemology of reference-fixing conventions.
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  20. In Defense of Semantic Externalism.Panu Raatikainen - 2020 - E-Logos 27 (2):57-70.
    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.
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  21. Frege on Referentiality and Julius Caesar in Grundgesetze Section 10.Bruno Bentzen - 2019 - Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 60 (4):617-637.
    This paper aims to answer the question of whether or not Frege's solution limited to value-ranges and truth-values proposed to resolve the "problem of indeterminacy of reference" in section 10 of Grundgesetze is a violation of his principle of complete determination, which states that a predicate must be defined to apply for all objects in general. Closely related to this doubt is the common allegation that Frege was unable to solve a persistent version of the Caesar problem for value-ranges. It (...)
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  22. What can Neuroscience tell us about Reference?Berit Brogaard - 2019 - In Barbara Abbott & Jeanette Gundel (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Reference. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 365-383.
    In traditional formal semantics the notions of reference, truth and satisfaction are basic and that of representation is derivative and dispensable. If a level of representation is included in the formal presentation of the theory, it is included as a heuristic. Semantics in the traditional sense has no bearing on any form of mental processing. When reference is understood within this framework, cognitive neuroscience cannot possibly provide any insights into the nature of reference. Traditional semantics, however, has numerous shortcomings that (...)
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  23. Between singularity and generality: the semantic life of proper names.Laura Delgado - 2019 - Linguistics and Philosophy 42 (4):381-417.
    Although the view that sees proper names as referential singular terms is widely considered orthodoxy, there is a growing popularity to the view that proper names are predicates. This is partly because the orthodoxy faces two anomalies that Predicativism can solve: on the one hand, proper names can have multiple bearers. But multiple bearerhood is a problem to the idea that proper names have just one individual as referent. On the other hand, as Burge noted, proper names can have predicative (...)
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  24. Semantic Verbs Are Intensional Transitives.Justin D’Ambrosio - 2019 - Mind 128 (509):213-248.
    In this paper I show that we have strong empirical and theoretical reasons to treat the verbs we use in our semantic theorizing—particularly ‘refers to ’, ‘applies to ’, and ‘is true of ’—as intensional transitive verbs. Stating our semantic theories with intensional vocabulary allows us to partially reconcile two competing approaches to the nature and subject-matter of semantics: the Chomskian approach, on which semantics is non-relational, internalistic, and concerns the psychology of language users, and the Lewisian approach, on which (...)
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  25. Roads to Reference: An Essay on Reference Fixing in Natural Language.Mario Gómez Torrente - 2019 - Oxford, Reino Unido: Oxford University Press.
    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, (...)
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  26. The World is Not Enough.Nathan Robert Howard & N. G. Laskowski - 2019 - Noûs 55 (1):86-101.
    Throughout his career, Derek Parfit made the bold suggestion, at various times under the heading of the "Normativity Objection," that anyone in possession of normative concepts is in a position to know, on the basis of their competence with such concepts alone, that reductive realism in ethics is not even possible. Despite the prominent role that the Normativity Objection plays in Parfit's non-reductive account of the nature of normativity, when the objection hasn't been ignored, it's been criticized and even derided. (...)
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  27. Knowledge-yielding communication.Andrew Peet - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (12):3303-3327.
    A satisfactory theory of linguistic communication must explain how it is that, through the interpersonal exchange of auditory, visual, and tactile stimuli, the communicative preconditions for the acquisition of testimonial knowledge regularly come to be satisfied. Without an account of knowledge-yielding communication this success condition for linguistic theorizing is left opaque, and we are left with an incomplete understanding of testimony, and communication more generally, as a source of knowledge. This paper argues that knowledge-yielding communication should be modelled on knowledge (...)
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  28. The Generalized Integration Challenge in Metaethics.Laura Schroeter & François Schroeter - 2019 - Noûs 53 (1):192-223.
    The Generalized Integration Challenge is the task of providing, for a given domain of discourse, a simultaneously acceptable metaphysics, epistemology and metasemantics and showing them to be so. In this paper, we focus on a metaethical position for which seems particularly acute: the brand of normative realism which takes normative properties to be mind-independent and causally inert. The problem is that these metaphysical commitments seem to make normative knowledge impossible. We suggest that bringing metasemantics into play can help to resolve (...)
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  29. Frege’s puzzle is about identity after all.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (3):628-643.
    Many philosophers have argued or taken for granted that Frege's puzzle has little or nothing to do with identity statements. I show that this is wrong, arguing that the puzzle can only be motivated relative to a thinker's beliefs about the identity or distinctness of the relevant object. The result is important, as it suggests that the puzzle can be solved, not by a semantic theory of names or referring expressions as such, but simply by a theory of identity statements. (...)
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  30. Do Acquaintance Theorists Have an Attitude Problem?Rachel Goodman - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (1):67-86.
    This paper is about the relevance of attitude-ascriptions to debates about singular thought. It examines a methodology (common to early acquaintance theorists [Kaplan 1968] and recent critics of acquaintance [Hawthorne and Manley 2012], which assumes that the behaviour of ascriptions can be used to draw conclusions about singular thought. Although many theorists (e.g. [Recanati 2012]) reject this methodology, the literature lacks a detailed examination of its implications and the challenges faced by proponents and critics. I isolate an assumption of the (...)
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  31. On the supposed connection between proper names and singular thought.Rachel Goodman - 2018 - Synthese 195 (1):197-223.
    A thesis I call the name-based singular thought thesis is part of orthodoxy in contemporary philosophy of mind and language: it holds that taking part in communication involving a proper name puts one in a position to entertain singular thoughts about the name’s referent. I argue, first, that proponents of the NBT thesis have failed to explain the phenomenon of name-based singular thoughts, leaving it mysterious how name-use enables singular thoughts. Second, by outlining the reasoning that makes the NBT thesis (...)
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  32. Pensamento Singular e Atos de Pensamento Episódicos.Soutif Ludovic - 2018 - Manuscrito 41 (1):93-113.
    No debate acerca da singularidade de, pelos menos, alguns de nossos pensamentos sobre o mundo, assume-se corriqueiramente que o responsável pela natureza singular do episódio mental não é o próprio episódio e, sim, a proposição singular expressa quer por um proferimento assertórico de sentença singular autônoma, quer pela cláusula complementar em um relato de atribuição de atitude proposicional. As rotas semânticas padrão assumem que a singularidade do episódio mental (conceitual) é por assim dizer “herdada” da singularidade do conteúdo. Argumento que (...)
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  33. Tolerance, flexibility and the application of kind terms.Genoveva Martí & Lorena Ramírez-Ludeña - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 12):1-14.
    We explore two ways of distinguishing the semantic operation of kind terms. First, we focus on a distinction between terms with a flexible versus terms with an inflexible semantics. Flexibility depends on whether some changes in the domain of application are taken to be possible while being consistent with past usage and what is intuitively the same meaning. On the other hand we discuss terms whose mode of operation is tolerant, in that the cohabitation in the speakers’ community of more (...)
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  34. Denoting and Disquoting.Michael Rieppel - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (3):548-561.
    ABSTRACTFregeans hold that predicates denote things, albeit things different in kind from what singular terms denote. This leads to a familiar problem: it seems impossible to say what any given predicate denotes. One strategy for avoiding this problem reduces the Fregean position to form of nominalism. I develop an alternative strategy that lets the Fregean hold on to the view that predicate denote things by reconceiving the nature of singular denotation and of Fregean objects.
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  35. Keeping track of what’s right.Laura Schroeter & François Schroeter - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3-4):489-509.
    In this paper, we argue that ordinary judgments about core normative topics purport to attribute stable, objective properties and relations. Our strategy is first to analyze the structures and practices characteristic of paradigmatically representational concepts such as concepts of objects and natural kinds. We identify three broad features that ground the representational purport of these concepts. We then argue that core normative concepts exhibit these same features.
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  36. Vague Naturalness as Ersatz Metaphysical Vagueness.Rohan Sud - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 11:243–277.
    I propose a view that I call "Ersatz Metaphysical Vagueness" according to which the term "perfectly natural" can be semantically vague. As its name suggests, the view mimics traditional metaphysical vagueness without the radical metaphysical underpinnings. In particular, the ersatzer avoids a widely accepted argument schema (advanced by JRG Williams, Ted Sider, Cian Dorr, John Hawthorne and others) according to which, if there is no metaphysical vagueness, F-ness cannot be both perfectly natural and vague.
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  37. Referential Intentions: A Response to Buchanan and Peet.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (3):610-615.
    Buchanan (2014) argues for a Gricean solution to well-known counterexamples to direct reference theories of content. Peet (2016) develops a way to change the counterexample so that it seems to speak against Buchanan’s own proposal. I argue that both theorists fail to notice a significant distinction between the kinds of cases at issue. Those appearing to count against direct reference theory must be described such that speakers have false beliefs about the identity of the object to which they intend to (...)
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  38. Indexicals and Reference‐Shifting: Towards a Pragmatic Approach.Jonas Åkerman - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (1):117-152.
    I propose a pragmatic approach to the kind of reference-shifting occurring in indexicals as used in e.g. written notes and answering machine messages. I proceed in two steps. First, I prepare the ground by showing that the arguments against such a pragmatic approach raised in the recent literature fail. Second, I take a first few steps towards implementing this approach, by sketching a pragmatic theory of reference-shifting, and showing how it can handle cases of the relevant kind. While the immediate (...)
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  39. A. Bianchi (ed.), On Reference. [REVIEW]Fredrik Haraldsen - 2017 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 24 (1):121-127.
  40. Dickie's Epistemic Theory of Reference.Thomas Hofweber - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (3):725-730.
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  41. Aboutness and Justification.Dilip Ninan - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (3):731-737.
    A discussion of Imogen Dickie's book "Fixing Reference.".
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  42. The Explication Defence of Arguments from Reference.Mark Pinder - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (6):1253-1276.
    In a number of influential papers, Machery, Mallon, Nichols and Stich have presented a powerful critique of so-called arguments from reference, arguments that assume that a particular theory of reference is correct in order to establish a substantive conclusion. The critique is that, due to cross-cultural variation in semantic intuitions supposedly undermining the standard methodology for theorising about reference, the assumption that a theory of reference is correct is unjustified. I argue that the many extant responses to Machery et al.’s (...)
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  43. The Self-Referential Aspect of Consciousness.Cosmin Visan - 2017 - Journal of Consciousness Exploration & Research 8 (11):864-880.
    Following the phenomenology that is revealed by the emergent structure of consciousness, the path will lead to the acknowledgement of consciousness having a self-referential aspect. By following phenomenological clues, properties of self-reference will be revealed. The two most prominent properties of self-reference will be shown to be inclusion and transcendence that will be shown to be found everywhere in the phenomenology of consciousness. Also, self-reference will turn out to be unformalizable, this imposing limits on what a theory of consciousness can (...)
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  44. Logical Conceptualization of Knowledge on the Notion of Language Communication.Urszula Wybraniec-Skardowska - 2017 - Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric 52 (1):247-269.
    The main objective of the paper is to provide a conceptual apparatus of a general logical theory of language communication. The aim of the paper is to outline a formal-logical theory of language in which the concepts of the phenomenon of language communication and language communication in general are defined and some conditions for their adequacy are formulated. The theory explicates the key notions of contemporary syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. The theory is formalized on two levels: token-level and type-level. As (...)
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  45. Individual and Cross-Cultural Differences in Semantic Intuitions: New Experimental Findings.James R. Beebe & Ryan Undercoffer - 2016 - Journal of Cognition and Culture 16 (3-4):322-357.
    In 2004 Edouard Machery, Ron Mallon, Shaun Nichols and Stephen Stich published what has become one of the most widely discussed papers in experimental philosophy, in which they reported that East Asian and Western participants had different intuitions about the semantic reference of proper names. A flurry of criticisms of their work has emerged, and although various replications have been performed, many critics remain unconvinced. We review the current debate over Machery et al.’s (2004) results and take note of which (...)
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  46. Brandom, Peirce, and the overlooked friction of contrapiction.Marc Champagne - 2016 - Synthese 193 (8):2561–2576.
    Robert Brandom holds that what we mean is best understood in terms of what inferences we are prepared to defend, and that such a defence is best understood in terms of rule-governed social interactions. This manages to explain quite a lot. However, for those who think that there is more to making correct/incorrect inferences than obeying/breaking accepted rules, Brandom’s account fails to adequately capture what it means to reason properly. Thus, in an effort to sketch an alternative that does not (...)
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  47. Kant and Natural Kind Terms.Luca Forgione - 2016 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 31 (1):55-72.
    As is well known, the linguistic/philosophical reflection on natural kind terms has undergone a remarkable development in the early seventies with Putnam and Kripke’s essentialist approaches, touching upon different aspects of Kan’s slant. Preliminarily, however, it might be useful to review some of the theoretical stages in Locke and Leibniz’s approaches on natural kind terms in the light of contemporary reflections, to eventually pinpoint Kant’s contribution and see how some commentators have placed it within the theory of direct reference. Starting (...)
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  48. On the Error of Treating Functions as Objects.Karen Green - 2016 - Analysis and Metaphysics 15:20–35.
    In his late fragment, ‘Sources of Knowledge of Mathematics and Natural Sciences’ Frege laments the tendency to confuse functions with objects and says, ‘It is here that the tendency of language by its use of the definite article to stamp as an object what is a function and hence a non-object, proves itself to be the source of inaccurate and misleading expressions and also of errors of thought. Probably most of the impurities that contaminate the logical source of knowledge have (...)
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  49. Logic and Sense.Urszula Wybraniec-Skardowska - 2016 - Philosophy Study 6 (9).
    In the paper, original formal-logical conception of syntactic and semantic: intensional and extensional senses of expressions of any language L is outlined. Syntax and bi-level intensional and extensional semantics of language L are characterized categorically: in the spirit of some Husserl’s ideas of pure grammar, Leśniewski-Ajukiewicz’s theory syntactic/semantic categories and in accordance with Frege’s ontological canons, Bocheński’s famous motto—syntax mirrors ontology and some ideas of Suszko: language should be a linguistic scheme of ontological reality and simultaneously a tool of its (...)
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  50. Moral Valence and Semantic Intuitions.James R. Beebe & Ryan J. Undercoffer - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (2):445-466.
    Despite the swirling tide of controversy surrounding the work of Machery et al. , the cross-cultural differences they observed in semantic intuitions about the reference of proper names have proven to be robust. In the present article, we report cross-cultural and individual differences in semantic intuitions obtained using new experimental materials. In light of the pervasiveness of the Knobe effect and the fact that Machery et al.’s original materials incorporated elements of wrongdoing but did not control for their influence, we (...)
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