The reference book

Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by David Manley (2012)
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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.

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Author Profiles

David Manley
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
John Hawthorne
Australian Catholic University

Citations of this work

Mental Files.François Récanati - 2012 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
The Objects of Thought.Tim Crane - 2013 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
New Thinking About Propositions.Jeffrey C. King, Scott Soames & Jeff Speaks - 2014 - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press. Edited by Scott Soames & Jeffrey Speaks.
Rethinking Language, Mind, and Meaning.Scott Soames - 2015 - Princeton University Press.

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