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Reference and Essence

Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press (1981)

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  1. Vague Objects and Vague Identity: New Essays on Ontic Vagueness.Ken Akiba & Ali Abasnezhad (eds.) - 2014 - Springer.
  • How Does a Theoretical Term Refer?Ataollah Hashemi - forthcoming - Axiomathes:1-12.
    This paper deals with the question of what the most appropriate semantic theory for theoretical terms would be. Traditionally, in the contemporary literature of philosophy of language, there have been two widely held semantic theories: the descriptivist theory and the causal theory. Comparing theoretical terms with natural kind terms, I attempt to show that the causal theory of reference applies to natural kinds owing to certain ontological and epistemological assumptions of natural kinds realism. I argue that there is no reason (...)
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  • Counteractuals, Counterfactuals and Semantic Intuitions.Jesper Kallestrup - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (1):35-54.
    Machery et al. claim that analytic philosophers of language are committed to a method of cases according to which theories of reference are assessed by consulting semantic intuitions about actual and possible cases. Since empirical evidence suggests that such intuitions vary both within and across cultures, these experimental semanticists conclude that the traditional attempt at pursuing such theories is misguided. Against the backdrop of Kripke’s anti-descriptivist arguments, this paper offers a novel response to the challenge posed by Machery et al., (...)
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  • Spacetime and Mereology.Andrew Virel Wake - 2011 - Erkenntnis 74 (1):17-35.
    Unrestricted Composition (UC) is, roughly, the claim that given any objects at all, there is something which those objects compose. (UC) conflicts in an obvious way with common sense. It has as a consequence, for instance, that there is something which has as parts my nose and the moon. One of the more influential arguments for (UC) is Theodore Sider’s version of the Argument from Vagueness. (A version of the Argument from Vagueness was first presented by David Lewis (1986), pp. (...)
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  • Complex Demonstratives and Their Singular Contents.David Braun - 2008 - Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (1):57-99.
    This paper presents a semantic and pragmatic theory of complex demonstratives. According to this theory, the semantic content of a complex demonstrative, in a context, is simply an object, and the semantic content of a sentence that contains a complex demonstrative, in a context, is a singular proposition. This theory is defended from various objections to direct reference theories of complex demonstratives, including King's objection from quantification into complex demonstratives.
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  • The Problem of Processes and Transitions: Are Diseases Phase Kinds? [REVIEW]Stefan Dragulinescu - 2012 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 15 (1):79-89.
    In this paper I discuss a central objection against diseases being natural kinds—namely, that diseases are processes or transitions and hence they should not be conceptualized in the ‘substantish’ framework of natural kinds. I indicate that the objection hinges on conceiving disease kinds as phase kinds, in contrast to the non-phase, natural kinds of the exact sciences. I focus on somatic diseases and argue, via a representative comparison, that if disease kinds are phase kinds, then exact science kinds are phase (...)
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  • Is Putnam's Causal Theory of Meaning Compatible with Internal Realism?Valer Ambrus - 1999 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 30 (1):1-16.
    Putnam originally developed his causal theory of meaning in order to support scientific realism and reject the notion of incommensurability. Later he gave up this position and adopted instead what he called ‘internal realism’, but apparently without changing his mind on topics related to his former philosophy of language. The question must arise whether internal realism, which actually is a species of antirealism, is compatible with the causal theory of meaning. In giving an answer I begin with an analysis of (...)
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  • Baker on the Psychological Account of Personal Identity.Christopher Buford - 2009 - Acta Analytica 24 (3):197-209.
    Lynne Rudder Baker’s Constitution View of human persons has come under much recent scrutiny. Baker argues that each human person is constituted by, but not identical to, a human animal. Much of the critical discussion of Baker’s Constitution View has focused upon this aspect of her account. Less has been said about the positive diachronic account of personal identity offered by Baker. Baker argues that it is sameness of what she labels ‘first-person perspective’ that is essential to understanding personal identity (...)
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  • The Names of Historical Figures: A Descriptivist Reply.Luis Fernandez Moreno - 2007 - Acta Analytica 22 (2):155-168.
    Kripke’s most important arguments in Naming and Necessity against the description theory of reference of proper names are the arguments from ignorance and error concerning names of historical figures. The aim of this paper is to put forward a reply to these arguments. The answer to them is grounded on the development of one component of the version of the description theory proposed by the authors that are regarded as the classical contemporary advocates of this theory, namely Searle and Strawson; (...)
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  • Supervenience, Reduction, and Infinite Disjunction.Nick Zangwill - 1995 - Philosophia 24 (3-4):321-30.
    Can a certain sort of property supervene on another sort of property without reducing to it? Many philosophers find the superveniencel irreducibility combination attractive in the philosophy of mind and in moral philosophy. They think that mental properties supervene upon physical properties but do not reduce to them, or that moral properties supervene upon natural properties without reducing to them. Other philosophers have tried to show that the combination is ultimately untenable, however attractive it might initially appear. Thus Ted Honderich (...)
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  • Against the Modal Argument.Christopher S. Gifford - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (3):627-646.
    The relationship between alethic modality and indeterminacy is yet to be clarified. A modal argument—an argument that appeals to alethic modality—against vague objects given by Joseph Moore offers a potential clarification of the relationship; it is proposed that there are cases for which the following holds: if it is indeterminate whether A = B then it is possible that it is determinate that A = B. However, the argument faces three problems. The problems remove the argument’s threat against vague objects (...)
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  • Problems of Context and Knowledge.Jacques Jayez - 1989 - Argumentation 3 (3):303-319.
    In spite of alleged differences in purpose, descriptive and computational linguistics share many problems, due to the fact that any precise study on language needs some form of knowledge representation. This constraint is mostly apparent when interpretation of sentences takes into account elements of the so-called “context”. The parametrization of context, i.e. the explicit listing of features relevant to some intepretation task, is difficult because it requires flexible formal structures for understanding or simulating inferential behaviour, as well as a large (...)
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  • Taking Frege's Name in Vain.James Zaiss - 1993 - Erkenntnis 39 (2):167 - 190.
    A widely held view about Fregean Sense has it that the determination of a sign's referent by the sign's sense is achieved viasatisfaction: the sense specifies a condition (or set of conditions) and the referent is that entity, if any, which uniquely satisfies that (set of) condition(s). This is usually held in conjunction with the claim that the sense is existentially and qualitatively independent of the referent: if the referent did not exist, or did not uniquely satisfy the sense, the (...)
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  • Sentence-Relativity and the Necessary a Posteriori.Kai-Yee Wong - 1996 - Philosophical Studies 83 (1):53 - 91.
  • You Really Do Imagine It: Against Error Theories of Imagination.Peter Kung - 2016 - Noûs 50 (1):90-120.
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  • Conceivability and De Re Modal Knowledge.Sonia Roca-Royes - 2011 - Noûs 45 (1):22-49.
    The paper presents a dilemma for both epistemic and non-epistemic versions of conceivability-based accounts of modal knowledge. On the one horn, non-epistemic accounts do not elucidate the essentialist knowledge they would be committed to. On the other, epistemic accounts do not elucidate everyday life de re modal knowledge. In neither case, therefore, do conceivability accounts elucidate de re modal knowledge.
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  • General Terms and Relational Modality.Kathrin Glüer & Peter Pagin - 2012 - Noûs 46 (1):159-199.
    Natural kind terms have exercised philosophical fancy ever since Kripke, in Naming and Necessity, claimed them to be rigid designators. He there drew attention to the peculiar, name-like behavior of a family of prima facie loosely related general terms of ordinary English: terms such as ‘water’, ‘tiger’, ‘heat’, and ‘red’. Just as for ordinary proper names, Kripke argued that such terms cannot be synonymous with any of the definite descriptions ordinary speakers associate with them. Rather, the name-like behavior of these (...)
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  • Conventionalism and the Contingency of Conventions.Alan Sidelle - 2009 - Noûs 43 (2):224-241.
    One common objection to Conventionalism about modality is that since it is contingent what our conventions are, the modal facts themselves will thereby be contingent. A standard reply is that Conventionalists can accept this, if they reject the S4 axiom, that what is possibly possible is possible. I first argue that this reply is inadequate, but then continue to argue that it is not needed, because the Conventionalist need not concede that the contingency of our conventions has any bearing on (...)
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  • Why Sense Cannot Be Made of Vague Identity.Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2008 - Noûs 42 (1):1–16.
    In this paper I present a new argument against vague identity — one that is more fundamental than existing arguments — and I also try to explain why we find the idea of vague identity puzzling, in a way that will dispel the puzzlement. In brief, my argument is this: to make clear sense of something, one must at least model it set-theoretically; but due to the special place of identity in set-theoretic models, any vague relation that one does model (...)
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  • Yagisawa on Trans-Indexical Individuals and Fictional Characters.Reina Hayaki - 2011 - Analytic Philosophy 52 (4):283-292.
  • Meaning, Reference and Cognitive Significance.Kenneth A. Taylor - 1995 - Mind and Language 10 (1-2):129-180.
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  • Belief States and Narrow Content.Curtis Brown - 1993 - Mind and Language 8 (3):343-67.
    The first thesis is that beliefs play a role in explaining behavior. This is reasonably uncontroversial, though it has been controverted. Why did I raise my arm? Because I wanted to emphasize a point, and believed that I could do so by raising my arm. The belief that I could emphasize a point by raising my arm is central to the most natural explanation of my action.
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  • How Might I Have Been?Rachel Cooper - 2015 - Metaphilosophy 46 (4-5):495-514.
    What would my life have been like if I had been born more intelligent? Or taller? Or a member of the opposite sex? Or a non-biological being? It is plausible that some of these questions make sense, while others stretch the limits of sense making. In addressing questions of how I might have been, genetic essentialism is popular, but this article argues that genetic essentialism, and other versions of origin essentialism for organisms, must be rejected. It considers the prospects for (...)
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  • Perceptual Knowledge of Nonactual Possibilities.Margot Strohminger - 2015 - Philosophical Perspectives 29 (1):363-375.
    It is widely assumed that sense perception cannot deliver knowledge of nonactual (metaphysical) possibilities. We are not supposed to be able to know that a proposition p is necessary or that p is possible (if p is false) by sense perception. This paper aims to establish that the role of sense perception is not so limited. It argues that we can know lots of modal facts by perception. While the most straightforward examples concern possibility and contingency, others concern necessity and (...)
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  • No Identity Without an Entity.Luke Manning - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (1):279-305.
    Peter Geach's puzzle of intentional identity is to explain how the claim ‘Hob thinks a witch has blighted Bob's mare, and Nob wonders whether she killed Cob's sow’ is compatible with there being no such witch. I clarify the puzzle and reduce it to the familiar problem of negative existentials. That problem is a paradox of representations that seem to include denials of commitment , to carry commitment to what they deny commitment to, and to be true. The best proposed (...)
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  • What Are Social Groups? Their Metaphysics and How to Classify Them.Brian Epstein - 2019 - Synthese 196 (12):4899-4932.
    This paper presents a systematic approach for analyzing and explaining the nature of social groups. I argue against prominent views that attempt to unify all social groups or to divide them into simple typologies. Instead I argue that social groups are enormously diverse, but show how we can investigate their natures nonetheless. I analyze social groups from a bottom-up perspective, constructing profiles of the metaphysical features of groups of specific kinds. We can characterize any given kind of social group with (...)
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  • Russell-Names: An Introduction to Millian Descriptivism.Stefano Predelli - 2016 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 45 (5):603-622.
    This essay studies the semantic properties of what I call Russell-names. Russell-names bear intimate semantic relations with descriptive conditions, in consonance with the main tenets of descriptivism. Yet, they are endowed with the semantic properties attributed to ordinary proper names by Millianism: they are rigid and non-indexical devices of direct reference. This is not an essay in natural language semantics, and remains deliberately neutral with respect to the question whether any among the expressions we ordinarily classify as proper names behave (...)
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  • Reference, Modality, and Relational Time.J. A. Cover - 1993 - Philosophical Studies 70 (3):251 - 277.
  • Propositions, Circumstances, Objects.Walter Edelberg - 1994 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 23 (1):1 - 34.
  • Nondescriptionality and Natural Kind Terms.Barbara Abbott - 1989 - Linguistics and Philosophy 12 (3):269 - 291.
    The phrase "natural kind term" has come into the linguistic and philosophical literature in connection with well-known work of Kripke (1972) and Putnam (1970, 1975a). I use that phrase here in the sense it has acquired from those and subseqnent works on related topics. This is not the transparent sense of the phrase. That is, if I am right in what follows there are words for kinds of things existing in nature which are not natural kind terms in the current (...)
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  • Rigidity and Actuality-Dependence.Jussi Haukioja - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 157 (3):399-410.
    It is generally assumed that rigidity plays a key role in explaining the necessary a posteriori status of identity statements, both between proper names and between natural kind terms. However, while the notion of rigid designation is well defined for singular terms, there is no generally accepted definition of what it is for a general term to be rigid. In this paper I argue that the most common view, according to which rigid general terms are the ones which designate the (...)
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  • Sperm, Eggs and Hunks: Biological Origins and Identity. [REVIEW]Nic Damnjanovic - 2009 - Acta Analytica 24 (2):113-126.
    In several publications Graeme Forbes has developed and defended one of the strongest arguments for essentialism about biological origins. I attempt to show that there are deep, as yet unrecognized, problems with this argument. The problems with Forbes’s argument suggest that a range of other arguments for various forms of origin essentialism are also likely to be flawed, and that we should abandon the seemingly plausible general metaphysical thesis that concrete entities that share all intrinsic properties are identical.
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  • Two Solutions to Chisholm's Paradox.Graeme Forbes - 1984 - Philosophical Studies 46 (2):171 - 187.
  • The Chemistry of Substances and the Philosophy of Mass Terms.J. Brakel - 1986 - Synthese 69 (3):291 - 324.
  • Domains of Discourse.François Recanati - 1996 - Linguistics and Philosophy 19 (5):445 - 475.
    In the first part of this paper I present a defence of the Austinian semantic approach to incomplete quantifiers and similar phenomena (section 2-4). It is part of my defence of Austinian semantics that it incorporates a cognitive dimension (section 4). This cognitive dimension makes it possible to connect Austinian semantics to various cognitive theories of discourse interpretation. In the second part of the paper (sections 5-7), I establish connections between Austinian semantics and four particular theories: • the theory of (...)
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  • Millian Descriptivism.Ben Caplan - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 133 (2):181-198.
    In this paper, I argue against Millian Descriptivism: that is, the view that, although sentences that contain names express singular propositions, when they use those sentences speakers communicate descriptive propositions. More precisely, I argue that Millian Descriptivism fares no better (or worse) than Fregean Descriptivism: that is, the view that sentences express descriptive propositions. This is bad news for Millian Descriptivists who think that Fregean Descriptivism is dead.
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  • Reflections on Reflexivity.Nathan Salmon - 1992 - Linguistics and Philosophy 15 (1):53 - 63.
  • Putnam, Searle, and Externalism.Amir Horowitz - 1995 - Philosophical Studies 81 (1):27-69.
    To sum up, then, both kinds of Putnam's arguments established externalism, though they suffer from several defects. Yet, I think Searle's discussion of these arguments contributes to our understanding of what makes externalism true, and forces us to accept a moderate version of externalism. Searle's own account of the TE story shows us, within a solipsistic outline, how two identical mental states can be directed towards different objects, and further, that the content-determination of indexical thoughts does not necessarily involve external (...)
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  • Where Concepts Come From: Learning Concepts by Description and by Demonstration.Dylan Sabo - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (3):531-549.
    Jerry Fodor’s arguments against the possibility of concept learning, and the responses that have been offered in defense of the coherence of concept learning, have both by and large assumed that concept learning is a descriptive process. I offer an alternative, ostensive approach to concept learning and explain how descriptive concept learning can be explained as a version of ostensive concept learning. I argue that an ostensive view of concept learning offers an empirically plausible and philosophically adequate account of concept (...)
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  • Soames’s Deflationism About Modality.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (6):1367-1379.
    One type of deflationism about metaphysical modality suggests that it can be analysed strictly in terms of linguistic or conceptual content and that there is nothing particularly metaphysical about modality. Scott Soames is explicitly opposed to this trend. However, a detailed study of Soames’s own account of modality reveals that it has striking similarities with the deflationary account. In this paper I will compare Soames’s account of a posteriori necessities concerning natural kinds with the deflationary one, specifically Alan Sidelle’s account, (...)
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  • A New Argument Against the Existence Requirement.Takashi Yagisawa - 2005 - Analysis 65 (1):39–42.
    It may appear that in order to be any way at all, a thing must exist. A possible – worlds version of this claim goes as follows: (E) For every x, for every possible world w, Fx at w only if x exists at w. Here and later in (R), the letter ‘F’ is used as a schematic letter to be replaced with a one – place predicate. There are two arguments against (E). The first is by analogy. Socrates is (...)
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  • Defining Global Supervenience.Alex Steinberg - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (2):367-380.
    What does it mean that certain properties globally supervene on others? The paper criticises the now standard way of spelling out the notion in terms of 1–1 correlations between world-domains and proposes a modification that escapes the difficulties. The new definition can secure the additional benefit of resisting an argument to the effect that global supervenience is theoretically dispensable.
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  • A Defense of Indeterminate Distinctness.Ken Akiba - 2014 - Synthese 191 (15):3557-3573.
    On the one hand, philosophers have presented numerous apparent examples of indeterminate individuation, i.e., examples in which two things are neither determinately identical nor determinately distinct. On the other hand, some have argued against even the coherence of the very idea of indeterminate individuation. This paper defends the possibility of indeterminate individuation against Evans’s argument and some other arguments. The Determinacy of Identity—the thesis that identical things are determinately identical—is distinguished from the Determinacy of Distinctness—the thesis that distinct things are (...)
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  • Sorting Out the Sortals: A Fregean Argument for Essentialism.Troy T. Catterson - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (1):137-157.
    In his paper, “Identity Statements and Essentialism,” Loux seeks to demonstrate sortal essentialism based on Frege’s thesis that all statements of number concerning a collection require that the members fall under the same sortal concept. I shall attempt to argue that a detailed analysis of Loux’s argument reveals it as failing to imply the type of sortal dependency thesis necessary for the justification of sortal essentialism. However, if one construes the transworld identity relation as no different from our run of (...)
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  • The Anti-Individualist Revolution in the Philosophy of Language.Gregory Bochner - 2014 - Linguistics and Philosophy 37 (2):91-120.
    The canonical arguments against the description theory of names are usually taken to have established that the reference of a name as used on a given occasion is not semantically determined by the qualitative descriptions that the speaker may have in mind. The deepest moral of these arguments, on the received view, would be that the speaker’s narrow mental states play no semantic role in fixing reference. My central aim in this paper is to challenge this common understanding by highlighting (...)
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  • Close Enough to Reference.David B. Martens - 1993 - Synthese 95 (3):357 - 377.
    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 (...)
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  • In Defense of Putnam’s Brains.Thomas Tymoczko - 1989 - Philosophical Studies 57 (3):281--97.
  • Actualism or Possibilism?James E. Tomberlin - 1996 - Philosophical Studies 84 (2-3):263 - 281.
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  • Must We Bear Our Names?Robert Steinman - 1986 - Erkenntnis 25 (2):163 - 167.
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  • Marcus, Kripke, and the Origin of the New Theory of Reference.Quentin Smith - 1995 - Synthese 104 (2):179 - 189.
    In this paper, presented at an APA colloquium in Boston on December 28, 1994, it is argued that Ruth Barcan Marcus' 1961 article on Modalities and Intensional Languages originated many of the key ideas of the New Theory of Reference that have often been attributed to Saul Kripke and others. For example, Marcus argued that names are directly referential and are not equivalent to contingent descriptions, that names are rigid designators, and that identity sentences with co-referring names are necessary if (...)
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