This volume puts forward a distinct new theory of directreference, blending insights from both the Fregean and the Russellian traditions, and fitting the general theory of language understanding used by those working on the pragmatics of natural language.
Most directreference theorists about indexicals and proper names have adopted the thesis that singular propositions about physical objects are composed of physical objects and properties.1 There have been a number of recent proponents of such a view, including Scott Soames, Nathan Salmon, John Perry, Howard Wettstein, and David Kaplan.2 Since Kaplan is the individual who is best known for holding such a view, let's call a proposition that is composed of objects and properties a K-proposition. In this (...) paper, I will attempt to show that a directreference view about the content of proper names and indexicals leads very naturally to the position that all singular propositions about physical objects are K-propositions.3 Then, I will attempt to show that this view of propositions is false. I will spend the bulk of the paper on this latter task. My goal in the paper, then, is to show that adopting the directreference thesis comes at a cost problems the view has with problems such as opacity and the significance of some identity statements; it comes at even more of a cost). (shrink)
On some formulations of DirectReference the semantic value, relative to a context of utterance, of a rigid singular term is just its referent. In response to the apparent possibility of a difference in truth value of two sentences just alike save for containing distinct but coreferential rigid singular terms, some proponents of DirectReference have held that any two such sentences differ only pragmatically. Some have also held, more specifically, that two such sentences differ by (...) conveying distinct conversational implicata, and that a conflation of implicatum with semantic content leads speakers to judge such sentences capable of differing in truth value. It is argued here that this latter defense of DirectReference employs false explanans, on the ground that speakers conflate semantic content with implicatum only in quite special cases, and we have independent grounds for thinking that sentences reporting speech acts and attitudes are not cases of this sort. (shrink)
In this essay I defend a theory of psychological explanation that is based on the joint commitment to directreference and computationalism. I offer a new solution to the problem of Frege Cases. Frege Cases involve agents who are unaware that certain expressions corefer (e.g. that 'Cicero' and 'Tully' corefer), where such knowledge is relevant to the success of their behavior, leading to cases in which the agents fail to behave as the intentional laws predict. It is generally (...) agreed that Frege Cases are a major problem, if not the major problem, that this sort of theory faces. In this essay, I hope to show that the theory can surmount the Frege Cases. (shrink)
According to Donnellan the characteristic mark of a referential use of a definite description is the fact that it can be used to pick out an individual that does not satisfy the attributes in the description. Friends and foes of the referential/attributive distinction have equally dismissed that point as obviously wrong or as a sign that Donnellan's distinction lacks semantic import. I will argue that, on a strict semantic conception of what it is for an expression to be a genuine (...) referential device, Donnellan is right: if a use of a definite description is referential, it must be possible for it to refer to an object independently of any attributes associated with the description, including those that constitute its conventional meaning. (shrink)
Angle Grinder Man removes wheel locks from cars in London.1 He is something of a folk hero, saving drivers from enormous parking and towing ﬁ nes, and has succeeded thus far in eluding the authorities. In spite of his cape and lamé tights, he is no ﬁ ction; he’s a real person. By contrast, Pegasus, Zeus and the like are ﬁ ctions. None of them is real. In fact, not only is each of them different from the others, all differ (...) from Angle Grinder Man. After all, Zeus throws thunderbolts but doesn’t remove boots from cars; unlike Superman, Angle Grinder Man couldn’t leap over a parked Mini, and all sightings suggest that he is a human being, not a horse. According to the charmingly austere theory of DirectReference, a proper name’s meaning is simply its referent.2 Two proper names with.. (shrink)
Angle Grinder Man removes wheel locks from cars in London.1 He is something of a folk hero, saving drivers from enormous parking and towing ﬁ nes, and has succeeded thus far in eluding the authorities. In spite of his cape and lamé tights, he is no ﬁ ction; he’s a real person. By contrast, Pegasus, Zeus and the like are ﬁ ctions. None of them is real. In fact, not only is each of them different from the others, all differ (...) from Angle Grinder Man. After all, Zeus throws thunderbolts but doesn’t remove boots from cars; unlike Superman, Angle Grinder Man couldn’t leap over a parked Mini, and all sightings suggest that he is a human being, not a horse. (shrink)
I defend what I believe to be a new variation on Kripkean themes, for the purpose of providing an improved way to understand the referring functions of proper names. I begin by discussing roles played by perceptual perspectives in the use of proper names, and then broaden the discussion to include what I call cognitive perspectives. Although both types of perspectives underwrite the existence of intentional intermediaries between proper names and their referents, the existence of these intentional intermediaries does not (...) entail that a Kripke-inspired view of directreference must be abandoned. At the same time, the existence of these intermediaries can be seen to play illuminating roles as regards the referring functions of proper names in the following types of cases, among others: (a) where different names pick out the same subject; (b) where names are empty. Along the way, I argue that perspectival views are not something inside the head of language users as intended by Putnam in his well-known discussion of meaning. (shrink)
Directreference theory faces serious prima facie counterexamples which must be explained away (e.g., that it is possible to know a priori that Hesperus = Phosphorus). This is done by means of various forms of pragmatic explanation. But when those explanations that provisionally succeed are generalized to deal with analogous prima facie counterexamples concerning the identity of propositions, a fatal dilemma results. Either identity must be treated as a four-place relation (contradicting what just about everyone, including direct (...)reference theorists, takes to be essential to identity). Or directreference theorists must incorporate a view that was rejected in pretty much our first lesson about identity—namely, that Hesperus at twilight is not identical to Hesperus at dawn. One way of the other, the directreference theory is thus inconsistent with basic principles concerning the logic of identity, which nearly everyone, including directreference theorists, take as starting points. (shrink)
This paper explores the psychological analogues of a cluster of arguments that have played an important role in motivating a now widespread, reference-based approach in philosophy of language. What I will call the psychological analogues of Kripke-style arguments provide a substantial motivation for a reference-based approach to concepts. Insofar as such an approach is rarely given serious consideration, the availability of these arguments suggests the need for a rethinking of some foundational assumptions in philosophy of mind and other (...) branches of the cognitive sciences. (shrink)
Todd’s quip absurdly implies he knew that 30 carats is the threshold for vulgarity. But most philosophers think stopping here misses the root of the joke. They think there is a more fundamental absurdity; that it is even possible for a single carat to make the difference between a vulgar ring and a non-vulgar ring. We epistemicists defend the possibility.
Angle Grinder Man removes wheel locks from cars in London. He is something of a folk hero, saving drivers from enormous parking and towing fines, and has succeeded thus far in eluding the authorities. In spite of his cape and lamé tights, he is no fiction; he's a real person. By contrast, Pegasus, Zeus and the like are fictions. None of them is real. In fact, not only is each of them different from the others, all differ from Angle Grinder (...) Man. After all, Zeus throws thunderbolts but doesn't remove boots from cars; unlike Superman, Angle Grinder Man couldn't leap over a parked Mini, and all sightings suggest that he is a human being, not a horse. (shrink)
In this paper I challenge recent externalist interpretations of Ockham’s theory of intuitive cognition. I begin by distinguishing two distinct theses that defenders of the externalist interpretation typically attribute to Ockham: a ‘directreference thesis’, according to which intuitive cognitions are states that lack all internal, descriptive content; and a ‘causal thesis’, according to which intuitive states are wholly determined by causal connections they bear to singular objects. I then argue that neither can be plausibly credited to Ockham. (...) In particular, I claim that the causal thesis doesn’t square with Ockham’s account of supernaturally produced intuition and that the directreference thesis sits uneasily with Ockham’s characterization of the intentional structure of intuitive states. (shrink)
It is an interesting and important linguistic fact that we sometimes use singular terms — proper names or indexicals — to refer to wholly future individuals. Given this fact, and given the further fact that wholly future individuals are contingent and indeterminate, neither the “descriptivist” theory of singular reference, nor the “causal theory,” nor Gareth Evans’s “mixed” theory, nor even the “classical” directreference theory developed by David Kaplan, can account for future singular reference. Only a (...) semantic strategy drawn from directreference theory is able to solve the puzzle. But in order to solve it, the very idea of directreference must be extended by invoking two important supplementary notions: “reference delivery systems,” and “referential handiness or skill.” With the addition of these notions — which are updatings of some ideas sketched by Martin Heidegger in Being and Time — directreference theory effectively accounts for the possibility of future singular reference. But just insofar as the puzzle is solvable along these lines, it follows that the theory of reference cannot be “naturalized.”. (shrink)
(1) The propositions we believe and say are _Russellian_ _propositions_: structured propositions whose basic components are the objects and properties our thoughts and speech acts are about. (2) Many singular terms.
Moore's Open Question Argument has been heavily debated ever since it was presented over 100 years ago. In the current paper, it is argued that for the realist, and contrary to the received view by many theorists in the debate, the argument in fact lends strong support for non-naturalism. In particular, David Brink's naturalist defense utilizing directreference theory is scrutinized. It is argued that an application of directreference to moral kinds, rather than defusing the (...) Open Question Argument, actually underscores the non-naturalist conclusion. The naturalist argument depends heavily on the analogue between natural kinds and moral kinds. It is argued that the Open Question Argument provides prima facie evidence against the idea that moral kinds are natural kinds, and that the naturalist arguments do not overturn this evidence. Moreover, it is argued that similar reasons to those which render directreference unviable for moral terms also meet two further potential objections against the Open Question Argument, and it is concluded that the argument carries considerable force against the moral naturalist. (shrink)
I want to begin by distinguishing between what I will call a pure Fregean theory of reference and a theory of directreference. A pure Fregean theory of reference holds that all reference to objects is determined by a sense or content. The kind of theory I have in mind is obviously inspired by Frege, but I will not be concerned with whether it is the theory that Frege himself held.1 A theory of direct (...)reference, as I will understand it, denies that all reference to objects is determined by sense or content. We will also distinguish between a theory of reference for thought, and for language. This gives us a fourfold classification of theories. What is puzzling about directreference theories is not that the semantics of an expression in a public language should assign as its semantic value just a referent, but how such facts could be understood to reflect an underlying feature of thought. There are two interconnected aspects to this.. (shrink)
There is a prima facie conflict between the semantical theory of directreference and an intuitively plausible view often called 'individualism'. Directreference theory is the view that certain expressions pick out their referent directly, without any intervening semantical mechanism. In order to describe the meaning of a sentence which contain such an expression, we have to mention the referent itself. Individualism is a view that mental states are individuated without reference to the subject's environment, (...) either social or physical, and therefore without mentioning an external object of reference. ;I argue that there is no conflict because it is a mistake to carry over the results of a semantical theory into a theory of mental content. My argument ultimately relies on a certain understanding of the difficult notions of mental content and linguistic meaning, gained in part by a close analysis of the historical context in which the theory of reference emerged out of the parallel work in the theory of intentionality. Fundamentally, the elucidation of these concepts is the principal aim of the dissertation, rather than the dismantling of an apparent conflict between two currently accepted views. ;There are two ways in which the conflict may be thought to arise. One argument relies on the identification of linguistic meaning with mental content. Against this I argue that we cannot hold both directreference and the thesis, crucial to the argument, that linguistic meaning is identical to the thought-content of a competent. The short argument for conflict, therefore, fails. ;The second argument for the conflict is less direct. There are some thoughts, called De Re, which are said to constitute a direct connection between thinker and object. It is often thought that such thoughts are the ones attributed correctly using directly referential expressions. But what we attribute in such cases are just mental states whose attribution essentially involves the extra-mental objects of thought themselves, pace individualism. I argue that this argument depends on a conception of De Re, inherited from W. V. O. Quine, which mistakenly collapses issues of mental content with those of thought-attribution. (shrink)
The paper is aimed to show that directly referring terms have to be rigid designators. Since directly referring expressions refer to something on the basis of semantic conventions alone and since the conventions are independent of possible worlds, there cannot be a directly referring expression with shifting reference across possible worlds. Although this claim seems to be indubitable and widely recognized, it was questioned recently. Drawing on D. Lewis’ ontology of counterparts, G. Martí has shown that a directly referring (...) expression is capable to refer to different objects in different possible worlds. A directly referring term designating an object in our world is supposed to designate its counterparts in other possible world. The paper tries to show that the purported directly referring terms assumed by Martí’s argument are not, in fact, directly referring.U ovome članku nastoji se pokazati da izravno referirajući termini moraju biti kruti označitelji. Budući da izravno referirajući izrazi referiraju na nešto samo na osnovi semantičkih konvencija i budući da su konvencije neovisne o mogućim svjetovima, ne može postojati izravno referirajući izraz s referencijom koja se pomiče duž mogućih svjetova. Iako se ta tvrdnja čini neprijepornom i široko prihvaćenom, u novije je vrijeme dovedena u pitanje. Oslanjajući se na Lewisovu ontologiju parnjakâ, G. Martí je pokazala da izravno referirajući izraz može referirati na različite predmete u različitim mogućim svjetovima. Izravno referirajući termin koji označava predmet u našem svijetu trebao bi označavati svoje parnjake u drugome mogućem svijetu. U članku se pokušava pokazati da navodno izravno referirajući termini koji su pretpostavljeni Martínim argumentom zapravo nisu izravno referirajući. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that questions about the semantics of rigid designation are commonly and illicitly run together with distinct issues, such as questions about the metaphysics of essence and questions about the theoretical legitimacy of the possible-worlds framework. I discuss in depth two case studies of this phenomenon – the first concerns the relation between rigid designation and reference, the second concerns the application of the notion of rigidity to general terms. I end by drawing out some (...) conclusions about the relations between rigid designation, semantic frameworks, reference, and essence. (shrink)