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  1. Daniel Cohnitz & Jussi Haukioja (2013). Meta-Externalism Vs Meta-Internalism in the Study of Reference. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (3):475-500.
    We distinguish and discuss two different accounts of the subject matter of theories of reference, meta-externalism and meta-internalism. We argue that a form of the meta- internalist view, “moderate meta-internalism”, is the most plausible account of the subject matter of theories of reference. In the second part of the paper we explain how this account also helps to answer the questions of what kind of concept reference is, and what role intuitions have in the study of the reference relation.
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  2. Max Deutsch (2009). Experimental Philosophy and the Theory of Reference. Mind and Language 24 (4):445-466.
    It is argued on a variety of grounds that recent results in 'experimental philosophy of language', which appear to show that there are significant cross-cultural differences in intuitions about the reference of proper names, do not pose a threat to a more traditional mode of philosophizing about reference. Some of these same grounds justify a complaint about experimental philosophy as a whole.
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  3. Michael Devitt (2012). Semantic Epistemology: Response to Machery. Theoria 27 (2):229-233.
    Machery argues: (1) that “philosophers’ intuitions about reference are not more reliable than lay people’s —if anything, they are probably worse”; (2) that “intuitions about the reference of proper names and uses of proper names provide equally good evidence for theories of reference”. (1) lacks theoretical and empirical support. (2) cannot be right because usage provides the evidence that intuitions are reliable.
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  4. Michael Devitt (2012). Whither Experimental Semantics? Theoria 27 (1):5-36.
    The main goal of the paper is to propose a methodology for the theory of reference in which experiments feature prominently. These experiments should primarily test linguistic usage rather than the folk’s referential intuitions. The proposed methodology urges the use of: (A) philosophers’ referential intuitions, both informally and, occasionally, scientifically gathered; (B) the corpus, both informally and scientifically gathered; (C) elicited production; and, occasionally, (D) folk’s referential intuitions. The most novel part of this is (C) and that is where most (...)
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  5. Michael Devitt (2011). Experimental Semantics. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (2):418 - 435.
    In their delightfully provocative paper, “Semantics, Cross-Cultural Style,” Edouard Machery, Ron Mallon, Shaun Nichols, and Stephen Stich (2004),[1] make several striking claims about theories of reference. First, they claim: (I) Philosophical views about reference “are assessed by consulting one’s intuitions about the reference of terms in hypothetical situations” (p. B1). This claim is prompted by their observations of the role of intuitions in Saul Kripke’s refutation of the descriptivist view of proper names in favor of a causal-historical view (1980). The (...)
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  6. James Genone (2012). Theories of Reference and Experimental Philosophy. Philosophy Compass 7 (2):152-163.
    In recent years, experimental philosophers have questioned the reliance of philosophical arguments on intuitions elicited by thought experiments. These challenges seek to undermine the use of this methodology for a particular domain of theorizing, and in some cases to raise doubts about the viability of philosophical work in the domain in question. The topic of semantic reference has been an important area for discussion of these issues, one in which critics of the reliance on intuitions have made particularly strong claims (...)
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  7. James Genone & Tania Lombrozo (2012). Concept Possession, Experimental Semantics, and Hybrid Theories of Reference. Philosophical Psychology 25 (5):1-26.
    Contemporary debates about the nature of semantic reference have tended to focus on two competing approaches: theories which emphasize the importance of descriptive information associated with a referring term, and those which emphasize causal facts about the conditions under which the use of the term originated and was passed on. Recent empirical work by Machery and colleagues suggests that both causal and descriptive information can play a role in judgments about the reference of proper names, with findings of cross-cultural variation (...)
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  8. Christopher Grau & Cynthia Pury (2013). Attitudes Towards Reference and Replaceability. Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-14.
    Robert Kraut has proposed an analogy between valuing a loved one as irreplaceable and the sort of “rigid” attachment that (according to Saul Kripke’s account) occurs with the reference of proper names. We wanted to see if individuals with Kripkean intuitions were indeed more likely to value loved ones (and other persons and things) as irreplaceable. In this empirical study, 162 participants completed an online questionnaire asking them to consider how appropriate it would be to feel the same way about (...)
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  9. Jonathan Ichikawa, Ishani Maitra & Brian Weatherson (2012). In Defense of a Kripkean Dogma. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (1):56-68.
  10. Jussi Jylkk (2009). Psychological Essentialism and Semantic Externalism: Evidence for Externalism in Lay Speakers' Language Use. Philosophical Psychology 22 (1):37 – 60.
    Some experimental studies have recently claimed to undermine semantic externalism about natural kind terms. However, it is unclear how philosophical accounts of reference can be experimentally tested. We present two externalistic adaptations of psychological placeholder essentialism, a strict externalist and a hybrid externalist view, which are experimentally testable. We examine Braisby, Franks, and Hampton's (1996) study which claims to undermine externalism, and argue that the study fails in its aims. We conducted two experiments, the results of which undermine internalism and (...)
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  11. Barry Lam (2010). Are Cantonese Speakers Really Descriptivists? Revisiting Cross-Cultural Semantics. Cognition 115 (2):320–32.
    In an article in Cognition, Machery, Mallon, Nichols, and Stich [Machery et al., 2004] present data which purports to show that “East Asian” native Cantonese speakers tend to have descriptivist intuitions about the referents of proper names, while “Western” native English speakers tend to have causal-historical intuitions about proper names. Machery et al take this finding to support the view that some intuitions, the universality of which they claim is central to philosophical theories, vary according to cultural background. Machery et (...)
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  12. Edouard Machery (2012). Semantic Epistemology: A Brief Response to Devitt. Theoria 27 (2):223-227.
    In this article, I argue that philosophers’ intuitions about reference are not more reliable than lay people’s and that intuitions about the reference of proper names and uses of proper names provide equally good evidence for theories of reference.
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  13. Edouard Machery (2012). Expertise and Intuitions About Reference. Theoria 27 (1):37-54.
    Many philosophers hold that experts’ semantic intuitions are more reliable and provide better evidence than lay people’s intuitions—a thesis commonly called “the Expertise Defense.” Focusing on the intuitions about the reference of proper names, this article critically assesses the Expertise Defense.
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  14. Edouard Machery, Max Deutsch, Ron Mallon, Shaun Nichols, Justin Sytsma & Stephen Stich (2010). Semantic Intuitions: Reply to Lam. Cognition 117 (3):363-366.
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  15. Edouard Machery, Ron Mallon, Shaun Nichols & Stephen P. Stich (2004). Semantics, Cross-Cultural Style. Cognition 92 (3):1-12.
    Theories of reference have been central to analytic philosophy, and two views, the descriptivist view of reference and the causal-historical view of reference, have dominated the field. In this research tradition, theories of reference are assessed by consulting one’s intuitions about the reference of terms in hypothetical situations. However, recent work in cultural psychology (e.g., Nisbett et al. 2001) has shown systematic cognitive differences between East Asians and Westerners, and some work indicates that this extends to intuitions about philosophical cases (...)
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  16. Edouard Machery, Christopher Y. Olivola & Molly De Blanc (2009). Linguistic and Metalinguistic Intuitions in the Philosophy of Language. Analysis 69 (4):689-694.
    Machery et al. (2004) reported some preliminary evidence that intuitions about reference vary within and across cultures, and they argued that if real, such variation would have significant philosophical implications (see also Mallon et al. 2009). In a recent article, Genoveva Martı´ (2009) argues that the type of intuitions examined by Machery and colleagues (‘metalin- 10 guistic intuitions’) is evidentially irrelevant for identifying the correct theory of reference, and she concludes that the variation in the relevant intuitions about reference within (...)
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  17. Ron Mallon, Edouard Machery, Shaun Nichols & Stephen Stich (2009). Against Arguments From Reference. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (2):332 - 356.
    It is common in various quarters of philosophy to derive philosophically significant conclusions from theories of reference. In this paper, we argue that philosophers should give up on such 'arguments from reference.' Intuitions play a central role in establishing theories of reference, and recent cross-cultural work suggests that intuitions about reference vary across cultures and between individuals within a culture (Machery et al. 2004). We argue that accommodating this variation within a theory of reference undermines arguments from reference.
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  18. Jeffrey Maynes (2013). Interpreting Intuition: Experimental Philosophy of Language. Philosophical Psychology:1-19.
    The role of intuition in Kripke's arguments for the causal-historical theory of reference has been a topic of recent debate, particularly in light of empirical work on these intuitions. In this paper, I develop three interpretations of the role intuition might play in Kripke's arguments. The first aim of this exercise is to help clarify the options available to interpreters of Kripke, and the consequences for the experimental investigation of Kripkean intuitions. The second aim is to show that understanding the (...)
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  19. Jeffrey Maynes & Steven Gross (2013). Linguistic Intuitions. Philosophy Compass 8 (8):714-730.
    Linguists often advert to what are sometimes called linguistic intuitions. These intuitions and the uses to which they are put give rise to a variety of philosophically interesting questions: What are linguistic intuitions – for example, what kind of attitude or mental state is involved? Why do they have evidential force and how might this force be underwritten by their causal etiology? What light might their causal etiology shed on questions of cognitive architecture – for example, as a case study (...)
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  20. Gary Ostertag (2013). The 'Gödel' Effect. Philosophical Studies 166 (1):65-82.
    In their widely discussed paper, “Semantics, Cross-Cultural Style”, Machery et al. argue that Kripke’s Gödel–Schmidt case, generally thought to undermine the description theory of names, rests on culturally variable intuitions: while Western subjects’ intuitions conflict with the description theory of names, those of East Asian subjects do not. Machery et al. attempt to explain this discrepancy by appealing to differences between Western and East Asian modes of categorization, as identified in an influential study by Nisbett et al. I claim that (...)
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  21. Justin Sytsma & Jonathan Livengood (2011). A New Perspective Concerning Experiments on Semantic Intuitions. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (2):315-332.
    Machery, Mallon, Nichols, and Stich [2004; forthcoming] use experimental methods to raise a spectre of doubt about reliance on intuitions in developing theories of reference which are then deployed in philosophical arguments outside the philosophy of language. Machery et al. ran a cross-cultural survey asking Western and East Asian participants about a famous case from the philosophical literature on reference (Kripke's G del example). They interpret their results as indicating that there is significant variation in participants' intuitions about semantic reference (...)
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