Close enough to reference

Synthese 95 (3):357 - 377 (1993)
Abstract
This paper proposes a response to the duplication objection to the descriptive theory of singular mental reference. This objection involves hypothetical cases in each of which there are a pair of qualitatively indistinguishable objects and a thought that apparently refers to only one of the pair, despite the descriptive indistinguishability of the two objects. I identify a concept of reference-likeness or closeness to reference, which is related to the concept of genuine singular reference as the concept of truthlikeness or closeness to truth is related to the concept of truth. My response to the duplication objection is to say that the hypothetical cases it involves establish only that a thought can come close enough to singular reference to a thing despite not genuinely referring to that thing, a consequence that is compatible with the descriptive theory of singular mental reference.
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