An inconsistency in direct reference theory

Journal of Philosophy 101 (11):574 - 593 (2004)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Direct reference theory faces serious prima facie counterexamples which must be explained away (e.g., that it is possible to know a priori that Hesperus = Phosphorus). This is done by means of various forms of pragmatic explanation. But when those explanations that provisionally succeed are generalized to deal with analogous prima facie counterexamples concerning the identity of propositions, a fatal dilemma results. Either identity must be treated as a four-place relation (contradicting what just about everyone, including direct reference theorists, takes to be essential to identity). Or direct reference theorists must incorporate a view that was rejected in pretty much our first lesson about identity—namely, that Hesperus at twilight is not identical to Hesperus at dawn. One way of the other, the direct reference theory is thus inconsistent with basic principles concerning the logic of identity, which nearly everyone, including direct reference theorists, take as starting points.

Similar books and articles

Direct reference in thought and speech.Kirk A. Ludwig - 1993 - Communication and Cognition: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly Journal 26 (1):49-76.
That F.Nathan Salmon - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 141 (2):263 - 280.
The nameability of possible objects.Alberto Voltolini - 1994 - From a Logical Point of View 3:14-33.
Exemplarist virtue theory.Linda Zagzebski - 1996 - Metaphilosophy 41 (1-2):41-57.
On How to Refer to Unobservable Entities.Greg Wong-Taylor - 2006 - Macalester Journal of Philosophy 15 (1):4-14.
Public Proper Names, Idiolectal Identifying Descriptions.Stavroula Glezakos - 2009 - Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (3):317-326.


Added to PP

678 (#23,418)

6 months
98 (#40,177)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

George Bealer
Yale University

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references