Marginal Notes on the Theory of Reference

Grazer Philosophische Studien 9 (1):35-50 (1979)
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Abstract

In 'Notes on the Theory of Reference' Quine offers a brief argument, based on Tarski's Convention T and semantic definition of truth, that the theory of meaning is 'in a worse state' than is the theory of reference and that the concepts of the theory of meaning are inherently more 'foggy and mysterious' than those of thetheory of reference. A careful reconstruction of Quine's argument, however, is sufficient to show both that he covertly imposes a double standard of clarity on the two theories in question and that in so far as Tarski's contributions clarify or explicate the notion of truth they do likewise for the notion of analyticity. Consequently, the appeal which Quine makes to Tarski's definition of truth cannot be used in the manner he wishes, to draw a clear boundary between the theories of meaning and reference.

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Gary Merrill
University of Rochester (PhD)

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