The Reference Book

Oxford University Press (2012)
Abstract
This book critically examines some widespread views about the semantic phenomenon of reference and the cognitive phenomenon of singular thought. It begins with a defense of the view that neither is tied to a special relation of causal or epistemic acquaintance. It then challenges the alleged semantic rift between definite and indefinite descriptions on the one hand, and names and demonstratives on the other—a division that has been motivated in part by appeals to considerations of acquaintance. Drawing on recent work in semantics, the book explores a more unified account of all four types of expression, according to which none of them paradigmatically fits the profile of a referential term. On the proposed framework, all four involve existential quantification but admit of uses that exhibit many of the traits associated with reference—a phenomenon that is due to the presence of what we call a ‘singular restriction’ on the existentially quantified domain. The book concludes by drawing out some implications of the proposed semantic picture for the traditional categories of reference and singular thought.
Keywords Reference  Acquaintance  Quantifier restriction  Singular Thought  Referential term  Names  Indefinite descriptions  Definite descriptions  De re belief  Singular content
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Reprint years 2014
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Call number B105.R25.H39 2012
ISBN(s) 9780199693672   0199693676     9780198703044
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Citations of this work BETA
The Double Life of Names.Gail Leckie - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (3):1139-1160.
Lest Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot.Michael Devitt - 2014 - Mind and Language 29 (4):475-484.
Evidential Constraints on Singular Thought.James Genone - 2014 - Mind and Language 29 (1):1-25.
Cognitivism, Significance and Singular Thought.Rachel Goodman - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly:pqv074.

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