Gale in Reference and Religious Experience

Faith and Philosophy 13 (1):91-112 (1996)
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Richard Gale, in On the Nature and Existence of God, offers several reasons why an “historical-cum-indexical” theory of reference cannot be appropriate in explaining how people refer to God. The present paper identifies five distinct lines of argument in Gale, attempts to clarify several important desiderata for a successful theory of reference, and argues that Gale fails to discharge the burden of proof he has assumed, leaving the most important features of Alston’s “direct reference” theory untouched. Nevertheless, it is conceded that some consequences of Alston’s theory are quite counter-intuitive. The paper therefore concludes with a consideration of two alternatives: either taking a hard, Alstonian line in conflict with people’s linguistic intuitions, or striking a compromise with descriptivism along lines similar to those found in Gareth Evans’s paper, “The Causal Theory of Names.”



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Andrew Jeffery
University of Maryland University College

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Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Naming and Necessity.S. Kripke - 1972 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 45 (4):665-666.
Naming and Necessity.Saul A. Kripke - 1980 - Philosophy 56 (217):431-433.
Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 2003 - In John Heil (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.

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