Reference Borrowing and the Role of Descriptions

Croatian Journal of Philosophy 8 (3):349-360 (2008)
Abstract
In this exchange with Michael Devitt on reference borrowing I continue to challenge the idea that reference borrowing is a purely causal process and suggest instead that reference borrowing involves the borrowers having to associate the correct categorial term and have some true beliefs about the referent in the guise of some associate description. I strengthen my defense by suggesting that other kind terms form the core of our language and this is where we associate true categorial descriptions and where error would matter. I also argue that in reference borrowing there is no need to posit a difference between proper names and natural kind terms on one hand and other kind terms on the other. If the traditional views of reference borrowing have demanded too much of individual speakers, the causal picture surely demands too little. Mere causal connection to some antecedent tradition of term use does not suffice for the preservation of reference
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