Reality without reference

Dialectica 31 (1):247--53 (1977)
SummaryA dilemma concerning reference is posed: on the one hand it seems essential, if we are to give an account of truth, to first give an account of reference. On the other hand, reference is more remote than truth from the evidence in behavior on which a radical theory of language must depend, since words refer only in the context of sentences, and it is sentences which are needed to promote human purposes. The solution which is proposed is to treat reference as a theoretical construct whose sole function is to serve a theory of truth. Since more than one relation between words and objects will serve a theory of truth equally well, this amounts to giving up the concept of reference as basic
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DOI 10.1111/j.1746-8361.1977.tb01287.x
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