Theories of Reference and Experimental Philosophy

Philosophy Compass 7 (2):152-163 (2012)
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 about the prospects for philosophical theories of reference and arguments based on claims about reference. In this article, I review the main lines of argument in this area of experimental philosophy, with particular emphasis on the relevance of empirical data about intuitions to philosophical views. I argue that although traditional philosophical theorizing about reference faces little threat from experimental data about intuitions, there is nevertheless much to be gained from collecting and analyzing such data, which holds the promise of greatly enriching our conception of the mechanisms governing judgments about semantic reference in ways that are highly relevant to philosophers.
Keywords Theories of Reference  Semantics  Experimental Philosophy
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1747-9991.2011.00459.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,914
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Tyler Burge (1979). Individualism and the Mental. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 4 (1):73-122.
Saul Kripke (2010). Naming and Necessity. In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Philosophy. Routledge 431-433.

View all 31 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
James Andow (2014). Intuitions, Disagreement and Referential Pluralism. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (2):223-239.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Michael Devitt (2011). Experimental Semantics. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (2):418 - 435.
Ron Mallon (2007). Arguments From Reference and the Worry About Dependence. In Peter A. French & Howard K. Wettstein (eds.), Philosophy and the Empirical. Blackwell Pub. Inc. 160-183.
Joshua Knobe (2007). Experimental Philosophy. Philosophy Compass 2 (1):81–92.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

101 ( #24,965 of 1,725,584 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

7 ( #93,214 of 1,725,584 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.