David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (1):111-135 (2001)
Donnellan famously argued that while one can fix the reference of a name with a definite description, one cannot thereby have a de re belief about the named object. All that is generated is meta-linguistic knowledge that the sentence “If there is a unique F, then N is F” is true. Donnellan’s argument and the sceptical position are extremely influential. This article aims to show that Donnellan’s argument is unsound, and that the Millian who embraces Donnellan’s scepticism that the reference-fixer cannot secure the relevant de re belief faces a serious problem: Millianism about names plus scepticism about the reference-fixer’s de re belief conflicts with what seems to be an analytical thesis about the relationship between semantic content and understanding. The upshot is that the Millian has good reason to seek an alternative to scepticism.
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Citations of this work BETA
Robin Jeshion (2006). Soames on Descriptive Reference-Fixing. Philosophical Issues 16 (1):120–140.
Daniel Z. Korman (2010). The Contingent a Priori and the Publicity of a Priori Knowledge. Philosophical Studies 149 (3):387 - 393.
Manuel García-Carpintero (2007). Bivalence and What is Said. Dialectica 61 (1):167–190.
David Braun (2008). Complex Demonstratives and Their Singular Contents. Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (1):57-99.
Michael Mckinsey (2009). Thought by Description. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (1):83-102.
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Taylor Burge (2003). Thought Experiments: Reply to Donnellan. In Martin Hahn & B. Ramberg (eds.), Reflections and Replies: Essays on the Philosophy of Tyler Burge. MIT Press
Keith S. Donnellan (1989). Belief and the Identity of Reference. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 14 (1):275-288.
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