Reference and Response

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99999 (1):1-18 (2010)
Abstract
A standard view of reference holds that a speaker's use of a name refers to a certain thing in virtue of the speaker's associating a condition with that use that singles the referent out. This view has been criticized by Saul Kripke as empirically inadequate. Recently, however, it has been argued that a version of the standard view, a _response-based theory of reference_, survives the charge of empirical inadequacy by allowing that associated conditions may be largely or even entirely implicit. This paper argues that response-based theories of reference are prey to a variant of the empirical inadequacy objection, because they are ill-suited to accommodate the successful use of proper names by pre-school children. Further, I argue that there is reason to believe that normal adults are, by and large, no different from children with respect to how the referents of their names are determined. I conclude that speakers typically refer _positionally_: the referent of a use of a proper name is typically determined by aspects of the speaker's position, rather than by associated conditions present, however implicitly, in her psychology
Keywords Kripke, Saul  Jackson, Frank  Chalmers, David  Reference  Two Dimensionalism  Descriptivism  Causal-historical Theory
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References found in this work BETA
David J. Chalmers (2002). Does Conceivability Entail Possibility? In Tamar S. Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. 145--200.
Keith S. Donnellan (1974). Speaking of Nothing. Philosophical Review 83 (1):3-31.
Gareth Evans (1973). The Causal Theory of Names. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 47:187–208.

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