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_Reference and Essence_ [Expanded Edition]

Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books (2005)

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  1. 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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  • Vague Objects and Vague Identity: New Essays on Ontic Vagueness.Ken Akiba & Ali Abasnezhad (eds.) - 2014 - Dordrecht, Netherland: Springer.
    This unique anthology of new, contributed essays offers a range of perspectives on various aspects of ontic vagueness. It seeks to answer core questions pertaining to onticism, the view that vagueness exists in the world itself. The questions to be addressed include whether vague objects must have vague identity, and whether ontic vagueness has a distinctive logic, one that is not shared by semantic or epistemic vagueness. The essays in this volume explain the motivations behind onticism, such as the plausibility (...)
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  • Reflections on Reflexivity.Nathan Salmon - 1992 - Linguistics and Philosophy 15 (1):53 - 63.
  • Modal Paradox II: Essence and Coherence.Nathan Salmón - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (10):3237-3250.
    Paradoxes of nested modality, like Chisholm’s paradox, rely on S4 or something stronger as the propositional logic of metaphysical modality. Sarah-Jane Leslie’s objection to the resolution of Chisholm’s paradox by means of rejection of S4 modal logic is investigated. A modal notion of essence congenial to Leslie’s objection is clarified. An argument is presented in support of Leslie’s crucial but unsupported assertion that, on pain of inconsistency, an object’s essence is the same in every possible world. A fallacy in the (...)
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  • All Things Must Pass Away.Joshua Spencer - 2012 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 7:67.
    Are there any things that are such that any things whatsoever are among them. I argue that there are not. My thesis follows from these three premises: (1) There are two or more things; (2) for any things, there is a unique thing that corresponds to those things; (3) for any two or more things, there are fewer of them than there are pluralities of them.
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  • On sense and direct reference.Ben Caplan - 2006 - Philosophy Compass 1 (2):171-185.
    Millianism and Fregeanism agree that a sentence that contains a name expresses a structured proposition but disagree about whether that proposition contains the object that the name refers to (Millianism) or rather a mode of presentation of that object (Fregeanism). Various problems – about simple sentences, propositional‐attitude ascriptions, and sentences that contain empty names – beset each view. To solve these problems, Millianism can appeal to modes of presentation, and Fregeanism can appeal to objects. But this raises a further problem: (...)
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  • Rigidity in Mathematical Discourse.Marián Zouhar - 2017 - Philosophia 45 (3):1381-1394.
    Rigid designators designate whatever they do in all possible worlds. Mathematical definite descriptions are usually considered paradigmatic examples of such expressions. The main aim of the present paper is to challenge this view. It is argued that mathematical definite descriptions cannot be rigid in the same sense as ordinary empirical definite descriptions because—assuming that mathematical facts are not determined by goings on in possible worlds—mathematical descriptions designate whatever they do independently of possible worlds. Nevertheless, there is a widespread practice of (...)
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  • Supervenience, reduction, and infinite disjunction.Nick Zangwill - 1998 - Philosophia 26 (1-2):151-164.
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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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  • Supervenience, reduction, and infinite disjunction.Nick Zangwill - 1998 - Philosophia 26 (1-2):321-330.
    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 (Davidson 1980 and Moore 1903). 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 (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Proper names and the necessity of identity statements.Michael Wreen - 1998 - Synthese 114 (2):319-335.
    An identity statement flanked on both sides with proper names is necessarily true, Saul Kripke thinks, if it's true at all. Thus, contrary to the received view – or at least what was, prior to Kripke, the received view – a statement like(A) Hesperus is Phosphorus.
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  • Sentence-relativity and the necessary a posteriori.Kai-Yee Wong - 1996 - Philosophical Studies 83 (1):53 - 91.
  • "A Priority" and Ways of Grasping a Proposition.Kai-Yee Wong - 1991 - Philosophical Studies 62 (2):151 - 164.
  • Ontic vagueness and metaphysical indeterminacy.J. Robert G. Williams - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (4):763-788.
    Might it be that world itself, independently of what we know about it or how we represent it, is metaphysically indeterminate? This article tackles in turn a series of questions: In what sorts of cases might we posit metaphysical indeterminacy? What is it for a given case of indefiniteness to be 'metaphysical'? How does the phenomenon relate to 'ontic vagueness', the existence of 'vague objects', 'de re indeterminacy' and the like? How might the logic work? Are there reasons for postulating (...)
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  • Modal science.Timothy Williamson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):453-492.
    This paper explains and defends the idea that metaphysical necessity is the strongest kind of objective necessity. Plausible closure conditions on the family of objective modalities are shown to entail that the logic of metaphysical necessity is S5. Evidence is provided that some objective modalities are studied in the natural sciences. In particular, the modal assumptions implicit in physical applications of dynamical systems theory are made explicit by using such systems to define models of a modal temporal logic. Those assumptions (...)
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  • Against the reduction of modality to essence.Nathan Wildman - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 6):1-17.
    It is a truth universally acknowledged that a claim of metaphysical modality, in possession of good alethic standing, must be in want of an essentialist foundation. Or at least so say the advocates of the reductive-essence-first view, according to which all modality is to be reductively defined in terms of essence. Here, I contest this bit of current wisdom. In particular, I offer two puzzles—one concerning the essences of non-compossible, complementary entities, and a second involving entities whose essences are modally (...)
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  • An a posteriori conception of analyticity?Åsa Maria Wikforss - 2003 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 66 (1):119-139.
    At the time that Quine wrote "Two Dogmas" an attack on analyticity was considered a simultaneous attack on the very idea of necessary truth. This all changed with Kripke's revival of a non-epistemic, non-linguistic notion of necessity. My paper discusses the question whether we can take Kripke one step further and free analyticity from its epistemic ties, thereby reinstating a notion of analyticity that is immune to Quine's attack, and compatible with his epistemic holism. I discuss this question by examining (...)
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  • Many many problems.Brian Weatherson - 2003 - Philosophical Quarterly 53 (213):481–501.
    Recently four different papers have suggested that the supervaluational solution to the Problem of the Many is flawed. Stephen Schiffer (1998, 2000a, 2000b) has argued that the theory cannot account for reports of speech involving vague singular terms. Vann McGee and Brian McLaughlin (2000) say that theory cannot, yet, account for vague singular beliefs. Neil McKinnon (2002) has argued that we cannot provide a plausible theory of when precisifications are acceptable, which the supervaluational theory needs. And Roy Sorensen (2000) argues (...)
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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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  • Is It Merely Loose Talk?⋆.Alberto Voltolini - 2000 - Dialectica 54 (1):51-72.
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  • To think is to have something in one’s thought.Alberto Voltolini & Elisabetta Sacchi - 2012 - Quaestio 12:395-422.
    Along with a well-honoured tradition, we will accept that intentionality is at least a property a thought holds necessarily, i.e., in all possible worlds that contain it; more specifically, a necessary relation, namely the relation of existential dependence of the thought on its intentional object. Yet we will first of all try to show that intentionality is more than that. For we will claim that intentionality is an essential property of the thought, namely a property whose predication to the thought (...)
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  • Are there all the alleged possible objects?Alberto Voltolini - 2000 - Topoi 19 (2):209-219.
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  • All the Existences that There Are.Alberto Voltolini - 2012 - Disputatio 4 (32):361-383.
    In this paper, I will defend the claim that there are three existence properties: the second-order property of being instantiated, a substantive first-order property (or better a group of such properties) and a formal, hence universal, first-order property. I will first try to show what these properties are and why we need all of them for ontological purposes. Moreover, I will try to show why a Meinong-like option that positively endorses both the former and the latter first-order property is the (...)
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  • Demonstrative sense and rigidity.Vojislav Bozickovic - 1993 - Philosophical Papers 22 (2):123-133.
    It is often thought that endowing a demonstrative with a Fregean sense leaves no room for maintaining that it is also a rigid designator. In addition, some philosophers claim that indexicals - surely the paradigms of singular reference - pose a serious threat to the Fregean sense/ reference approach as they do not comply with the view that singular terms have Fregean senses. In this paper I argue that neither of these is true.
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  • Logic, Ontological Neutrality, and the Law of Non-Contradiction.Achille C. Varzi - 2014 - In Elena Ficara (ed.), Contradictions. Logic, History, Actuality. De Gruyter. pp. 53–80.
    Abstract. As a general theory of reasoning—and as a general theory of what holds true under every possible circumstance—logic is supposed to be ontologically neutral. It ought to have nothing to do with questions concerning what there is, or whether there is anything at all. It is for this reason that traditional Aristotelian logic, with its tacit existential presuppositions, was eventually deemed inadequate as a canon of pure logic. And it is for this reason that modern quantification theory, too, with (...)
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  • The epistemology of modality and the problem of modal epistemic friction.Anand Jayprakash Vaidya & Michael Wallner - 2021 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 8):1909-1935.
    There are three theories in the epistemology of modality that have received sustained attention over the past 20 years: conceivability-theory, counterfactual-theory, and deduction-theory. In this paper we argue that all three face what we call the problem of modal epistemic friction. One consequence of the problem is that for any of the three accounts to yield modal knowledge, the account must provide an epistemology of essence. We discuss an attempt to fend off the problem within the context of the internalism (...)
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  • Modal Rationalism and Modal Monism.Anand Vaidya - 2008 - Erkenntnis 68 (2):191-212.
    Modal rationalism includes the thesis that ideal primary positive conceivability entails primary possibility. Modal monism is the thesis that the space of logically possible worlds is coextensive with the space of metaphysically possible worlds. In this paper I explore the relation between the two theses. My aim is to show that the former thesis implies the latter thesis, and that problems with the latter make the former implausible as a complete picture of the epistemology of modality. My argument explores the (...)
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  • In Defense of Putnam’s Brains.Thomas Tymoczko - 1989 - Philosophical Studies 57 (3):281--97.
  • Semantics, psychological attitudes, and conceptual roles.James E. Tomberlin - 1988 - Philosophical Studies 53 (March):205-226.
  • Actualism or possibilism?James E. Tomberlin - 1996 - Philosophical Studies 84 (2-3):263 - 281.
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  • What is the Hallé?Thomas H. Smith - 2005 - Philosophical Papers 34 (1):75-109.
    I address what I call the Number Issue, which is raised by our ordinary talk and beliefs about certain social groups and institutions, and I take the Hallé orchestra as my example. The Number Issue is that of whether the Hallé is one individual or several individuals. I observe that if one holds that it is one individual, one faces an accusation of metaphysical extravagance. The bulk of the paper examines the difficulty of reconciling the view that the Hallé is (...)
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  • Contingent Existence and the Reduction of Modality to Essence.Trevor Teitel - 2019 - Mind 128 (509):39-68.
    This paper first argues that we can bring out a tension between the following three popular doctrines: (i) the canonical reduction of metaphysical modality to essence, due to Fine, (ii) contingentism, which says that possibly something could have failed to be something, and (iii) the doctrine that metaphysical modality obeys the modal logic S5. After presenting two such arguments (one from the theorems of S4 and another from the theorems of B), I turn to exploring various conclusions we might draw (...)
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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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  • On the Modal Content of A Posteriori Necessities.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2009 - Theoria 75 (4):344-357.
    This paper challenges the Kripkean interpretation of a posteriori necessities. It will be demonstrated, by an analysis of classic examples, that the modal content of supposed a posteriori necessities is more complicated than the Kripkean line suggests. We will see that further research is needed concerning the a priori principles underlying all a posteriori necessities. In the course of this analysis it will emerge that the modal content of a posteriori necessities can be best described in terms of a Finean (...)
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  • Counterfactuals and Modal Epistemology.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2012 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 86 (1):93–115.
    What is our epistemic access to metaphysical modality? Timothy Williamson suggests that the epistemology of counterfactuals will provide the answer. This paper challenges Williamson's account and argues that certain elements of the epistemology of counterfactuals that he discusses, namely so called background knowledge and constitutive facts, are already saturated with modal content which his account fails to explain. Williamson's account will first be outlined and the role of background knowledge and constitutive facts analysed. Their key role is to restrict our (...)
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  • The Epistemology of Modality.Margot Strohminger & Juhani Yli-Vakkuri - 2017 - Analysis 77 (4):825-838.
  • 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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  • Must we bear our names?Robert Steinman - 1986 - Erkenntnis 25 (2):163 - 167.
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  • The limits of neo‐aristotelian plenitude.Joshua Spencer - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101 (1):74-92.
    Neo‐Aristotelian Plenitude is the thesis that, necessarily, any property that could be had essentially by something or other is had essentially by something or other if and only if and because it is instantiated; any essentializable property is essentialized iff and because it is instantiated. In this paper, I develop a partial nonmodal characterization of ‘essentializable' and show it cannot be transformed into a full characterization. There are several seemingly insurmountable obstacles that any full characterization of essentializability must overcome. Moreover, (...)
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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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  • Temporal indexicals.Quentin Smith - 1990 - Erkenntnis 32 (1):5--25.
  • 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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  • In Defence of Hybrid Contingentism.Lukas Skiba - 2022 - Philosophers' Imprint 22 (4):1-30.
    Hybrid contingentism combines first-order contingentism, the view that it is contingent what individuals there are, with higher-order necessitism, the view that it is non-contingent what properties and propositions there are (where these are conceived as entities in the range of appropriate higher-order quantifiers). This combination of views avoids the most delicate problems afflicting alternative contingentist positions while preserving the central contingentist claim that ordinary, concrete entities exist contingently. Despite these attractive features, hybrid contingentism is usually faced with rejection. The main (...)
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  • Grounding and a priori epistemology: challenges for conceptualism.Robert Weston Siscoe - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4).
    Traditional rationalist approaches to a priori epistemology have long been looked upon with suspicion for positing a faculty of rational intuition capable of knowing truths about the world apart from experience. Conceptualists have tried to fill this void with something more empirically tractable, arguing that we know a priori truths due to our understanding of concepts. All of this theorizing, however, has carried on while neglecting an entire cross section of such truths, the grounding claims that we know a priori. (...)
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  • Indeterminate Comprehension.Jonathan A. Simon - 2014 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (1):39-48.
    Can we solve the Problem of the Many, and give a general account of the indeterminacy in definite descriptions that give rise to it, by appealing to metaphysically indeterminate entities? I argue that we cannot. I identify a feature common to the relevant class of definite descriptions, and derive a contradiction from the claim that each such description is satisfied by a metaphysically indeterminate entity.
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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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  • Weakly Classical Theories of Identity.Joshua Schechter - 2011 - Review of Symbolic Logic 4 (4):607-644.
    There are well-known quasi-formal arguments that identity is a "strict" relation in at least the following three senses: (1) There is a single identity relation and a single distinctness relation; (2) There are no contingent cases of identity or distinctness; and (3) There are no vague or indeterminate cases of identity or distinctness. However, the situation is less clear cut than it at first may appear. There is a natural formal theory of identity that is very close to the standard (...)
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  • Two‐Dimensional Semantics and Sameness of Meaning.Laura Schroeter - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (1):84-99.
    In recent years, two-dimensional (2D) semantics has been used to develop a broadly descriptivist approach to meaning that seeks to accommodate externalists’ counterexamples to traditional descriptivism. The 2D possible worlds framework can be used to capture a speaker’s implicit dispositions to identify the reference of her words on the basis of empirical information about her actual environment. Proponents of 2D semantics argue that this aspect of linguistic understanding plays the core theoretical role of meanings: 2D semantics allows us to specify (...)
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