Heidegger on meaning and reference

Philosophy and Social Criticism 31 (1):9-20 (2005)
Abstract
This paper is an attempt to criticize the reification of language present in Heidegger’s writings after the Kehre . The steps of the argument are as follows. First, it is argued that the specific features of Heidegger’s conception of language after the Kehre can be traced back to Heidegger’s conception of the ontological difference in Being and Time . The common element in both conceptions is the assumption that meaning determines reference (i.e. that the way entities are understood determines which entities we can refer to). In the next step the implications of this assumption are shown through an analysis of Heidegger’s conception of designation in Being and Time and after the Kehre . Finally, this conception of designation is criticized with the help of the analysis of designation offered by the so-called theories of direct reference. Key Words: Donnellan • Heidegger • language • linguistic idealism • meaning • ontological difference • reference • referential/attributive distinction.
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