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Roads to Reference: An Essay on Reference Fixing in Natural Language

Oxford, Reino Unido: Oxford University Press (2019)

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  1. The irrelevance of intentions to refer: demonstratives and demonstrations.Michael Devitt - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (3):995-1004.
    According to Mario Gómez-Torrente in Roads to Reference, the reference of a demonstrative is fixed in an object by the speaker’s referential intentions. I argue that this is a mistake. First, I draw attention to a venerable alternative theory that Gómez-Torrente surprisingly overlooks: the reference is fixed in an object directly by a relation established in perceiving the object. Next I criticize IRH, arguing that it is implausible, redundant, and misleading. Finally, I present a theory of demonstrations that is like (...)
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  • Demonstrative Contents and Opaque Thoughts. Reply to Valente.Mario Gómez-Torrente - 2020 - Manuscrito 43 (4):130-141.
    Matheus Valente presents a number of examples designed to show that my theory of reference fixing for demonstratives violates the desideratum that demonstrative thoughts should be transparent to speakers. In this note I argue that the alleged desideratum is not really such and defend my theory against other criticisms made by Valente.
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  • Do Conflicting Intentions Give Rise to Multiple Demonstrative Reference? Reply to Mena.Mario Gómez-Torrente - 2020 - Manuscrito 43 (4):189-198.
    According to Ricardo Mena, a demonstrative refers to all the objects that the utterer has an intention for it to refer to, which may be more than one in cases where her referential intentions conflict. In this note I argue that Mena’s proposal has several serious problems.
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  • Numerals, Positionality, and Reference Fixing. Reply to Vivanco.Mario Gómez-Torrente - 2020 - Manuscrito 43 (4):165-176.
    Melisa Vivanco objects to my theory of the Arabic numerals in Roads to Reference that the reference fixing procedure that I postulate doesn’t exploit the morphological structure of the Arabic numerals, but it should. Against Vivanco, I argue that the procedure in question does exploit the morphological structure of the numerals in an essential way.
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  • Ordinary Kinds and Ontological Angst. Reply to Demartini.Mario Gómez-Torrente - 2020 - Manuscrito 43 (4):215-220.
    Thainá Demartini has criticized my view that ordinary natural kind terms refer to vague non-scientific kinds and defended the more traditional view that they refer to precise kinds discovered by science. In this note I reject Demartini’s worries as based on inadequate ontological scruples.
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  • On the Ordinary Notion of Substance. Reply to Abreu Zavaleta.Mario Gómez-Torrente - 2020 - Manuscrito 43 (4):108-115.
    My proposed mechanism of reference fixing for ordinary natural kind terms in the book Roads to Reference appeals to the ordinary notion of substance. In this note I reply to an objection by Martín Abreu Zavaleta that that notion is too vague to allow for a sufficiently constrained property to become the referent of a given ordinary substance term. I argue that the notion of substance is far less vague than Abreu Zavaleta claims.
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  • Précis of Roads to reference.Mario Gómez-Torrente - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (3):973-976.
    This is a summary of the contents of my book Roads to Reference, with emphasis on its proposal that the conventions governing reference fixing for demonstratives, proper names, and ordinary natural kind terms adopt the form of lists of roughly sufficient conditions for reference or reference failure; and its defense of anti-eliminativist views of the referents of ordinary natural kind terms, numerals, and terms for sensible qualities traditionally considered as “seconday”.
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  • How to Understand Rule-Constituted Kinds.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2021 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 13 (1):7-27.
    The paper distinguishes between two conceptions of kinds defined by constitutive rules, the one suggested by Searle, and the one invoked by Williamson to define assertion. Against recent arguments to the contrary by Maitra, Johnson and others, it argues for the superiority of the latter in the first place as an account of games. On this basis, the paper argues that the alleged disanalogies between real games and language games suggested in the literature in fact don’t exist. The paper relies (...)
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  • Roads to Anti-Descriptivism (About Reference Fixing): Replies to Soames, Raatikainen, and Devitt.Mario Gómez-Torrente - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (3):1005-1017.
    I reply to comments and criticism of my book Roads to Reference by Scott Soames (on the referents of ordinary substance terms and the conventions governing reference fixing for demonstratives, proper names, and color adjectives), Panu Raatikainen (on the exact scope of my critique of descriptivism and on the relation between referential indeterminacy and ‘‘partial reference’’), and Michael Devitt (on the role of referential intentions and anti-descriptivism in the metasemantics of demonstratives).
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  • Indeterminacy and Reference: Comments on Roads to Reference. [REVIEW]Panu Raatikainen - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 179 (3):987-994.
    Roads to Reference: An Essay on Reference Fixing in Natural Language by Mario Gómez-Torrente provides an ample attack against certain more recent variants of descriptivism in the theory of reference. The book discusses a wide variety of expressions, but the focus of this short note is on proper names and natural kind terms. In the case of proper names, indeterminacy plays an important role in Gómez-Torrente’s critical argument. Some questions related to it are raised. As to natural kind terms, the (...)
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  • آیا ارجاع متعین به ساحت الهی ممکن است؟.حامد قدیری - 2021 - پژوهشنامه فلسفه دین 18 (2):97-118.
    یکی از چالش‌های حوزۀ زبان دینی به امکانِ جمع میان فرض تعالی و فرض ارجاع متعارف دینی برمی‌گردد. فرض تعالی مدعی است که ساحت الهی/مطلق به طور کامل از ساحت بشری/ممکن منفک است. فرض ارجاع متعارف دینی نیز مدعی است که می‌توان به ساحت الهی/مطلق به شکل متعینی ارجاع داد. تردید در امکان جمعِ میان این دو از آنجا می‌آید که گویا مدعایی در ذهن هست که «اگر ساحتِ الهی/مطلق، به طور کامل از ساحتِ بشری/ممکن منفک باشد، آنگاه نمی‌توان به (...)
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  • Logical Form, Truth Conditions, and Adequate Formalization.Mario Gómez-Torrente - 2020 - Disputatio 12 (58):209-222.
    I discuss Andrea Iacona’s idea that logical form mirrors truth conditions, and that logical form, and thus truth conditions, are in turn represented by means of adequate formalization. I criticize this idea, noting that the notion of adequate formalization is highly indefinite, while the pre-theoretic idea of logical form is often much more definite. I also criticize Iacona’s claim that certain distinct sentences, with the same truth conditions and differing only by co-referential names, must be formalized by the same formula. (...)
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  • Referential Uses of Arabic Numerals.Melissa Vivanco - 2020 - Manuscrito 43 (4):142-164.
    Is the debate over the existence of numbers unsolvable? Mario Gómez-Torrente presents a novel proposal to unclog the old discussion between the realist and the anti-realist about numbers. In this paper, the strategy is outlined, highlighting its results and showing how they determine the desiderata for a satisfactory theory of the reference of Arabic numerals, which should lead to a satisfactory explanation about numbers. It is argued here that the theory almost achieves its goals, yet it does not capture the (...)
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  • Walking the Roads to Reference Some Comments on Mario Gómez Torrente.Eleonora Orlando - 2020 - Manuscrito 43 (4):22-34.
    In chapter 3 of the very welcome and enjoyable Roads to Reference, “Proper Names and Referential Indeterminacy”, Mario Gómez Torrente proposes a set of conventions establishing merely sufficient conditions for the fixation and transmission of the reference of proper names. There are some aspects of the undoubtedly very original and rigorous proposal that have prompted me the brief comments that follow, grouped into three sections.
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  • Natural Kinds and Our Semantic Intuitions Along the Road.Thainá Coltro Demartini - 2020 - Manuscrito 43 (4):199-214.
    This is a comment on Gómez-Torrente’s approach to natural kinds and natural kind terms. Here I will focus on his concerns related to the arbitrariness argument and his attempt to formulate a reply to it that maintains most of the “Kripke-Putnam orthodoxy” when it comes to the reference-fixing of such terms. Gómez-Torrente concludes that ordinary kind terms have distinct referents from scientific terms. I will challenge one of the premises that he employs in reaching this conclusion: namely, that the difference (...)
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  • Singular Reference in Fictional Discourse?Manuel García-Carpintero - 2019 - Disputatio 11 (54):143-177.
    Singular terms used in fictions for fictional characters raise well-known philosophical issues, explored in depth in the literature. But philosophers typically assume that names already in use to refer to “moderatesized specimens of dry goods” cause no special problem when occurring in fictions, behaving there as they ordinarily do in straightforward assertions. In this paper I continue a debate with Stacie Friend, arguing against this for the exceptionalist view that names of real entities in fictional discourse don’t work there as (...)
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  • Reference Theories and the Relevance of Descriptions.Luis Fernández Moreno - 2020 - Manuscrito 43 (4):74-85.
    Mario Gómez-Torrente is a fundamental contribution to the issue of reference and especially of reference fixing. In this article I will focus on some questions addressed in it, especially on the relationships between some components of Kripke’s, Putnam’s and Gómez-Torrente’s theories of reference fixing as well as on the relevance of descriptions for those theories; I will then make some observations about Gómez-Torrente’s view of the reference-fixing conventions.
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  • Tasty Roads to Flavour.Axel Barceló Aspeitia - 2020 - Manuscrito 43 (4):1-12.
    The goal of this brief note is to offer a generalisation of Gómez-Torrente argumentative strategy against perspectivism, which he has developed as a defence of color realism in (2016) and (2019) and then apply it to evaluative language. In particular, I want to defend the thesis that at least some aesthetic predicates can have non-evaluative reference. As an example, I will work with the predicate “tasty” (and its antonym “disgusting”) to argue that it some times refers to a non-subjective non-evaluative (...)
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  • Is the Problem of Conflicting Intentions a Genuine Problem? Some Remarks on Gómez-Torrente´s “Roads to Reference”.Filipe Martone - 2020 - Manuscrito 43 (4):49-58.
    In this brief discussion piece I try to offer some considerations in favor of the so-called Simple Intention Theory of demonstratives, which is rejected by Gómez-Torrente. I try to show that the main argument offered against the Simple Intention Theory appears to be based on false data.
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  • Gómez-Torrente on Reference to Ordinary Substances.Martín Abreu Zavaleta - 2020 - Manuscrito 43 (4):97-107.
    According to the Kripke-Putnam orthodoxy, a term like 'water' refers to samples of the same substance as the items on the basis of which the term was introduced. However, observations due to Needham and Leslie cast doubt on the idea that there is a uniquely privileged notion of substance relevant to the determination of reference, in which case it would seem at best indeterminate what the word `water' refers to. In response to this problem, Gómez-Torrente has argued that there is (...)
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  • A Bump in the Road.Ricardo Mena - 2020 - Manuscrito 43 (4):177-188.
    Roads to Reference offers a highly valuable contribution to the theory of reference. The arguments in this book are quite convincing and the overall picture presented in it is quite attractive. In what follows I would like to present some critical comments regarding the first chapter of the book, Demonstratives and Conflicting Intentions.
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