David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 5:189-197 (2000)
We can describe languages in which no words refer to objects. Such languages may contain sentences equivalent to any sentences of English, and hence may allow for as much objectivity as English does. It is wrong to try to deal with such languages by claiming that there are more objects than those accepted by common sense ontology. The correct move is rather to acknowledge a sense in which the concept of an object might have been different. A consequence of this position is that we cannot have a general semantics applicable to every describable language in which words are referentially connected to objects. The point here is not that reference may be inscrutable, but that different concepts of ‘referring to an object’ may be required for different languages
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