The fallacies of the new theory of reference

Synthese 104 (2):245 - 283 (1995)
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Abstract

The so-called New Theory of Reference (Marcus, Kripke etc.) is inspired by the insight that in modal and intensional contexts quantifiers presuppose nondescriptive unanalyzable identity criteria which do not reduce to any descriptive conditions. From this valid insight the New Theorists fallaciously move to the idea that free singular terms can exhibit a built-in direct reference and that there is even a special class of singular terms (proper names) necessarily exhibiting direct reference. This fallacious move has been encouraged by a mistaken belief in the substitutional interpretation of quantifiers, by the myth of thede re reference, and a mistaken assimilation of direct reference to ostensive (perspectival) identification. Thede dicto vs.de re contrast does not involve direct reference, being merely a matter of rule-ordering (scope).The New Theorists' thesis of the necessity of identities of directly referred-to individuals is a consequence of an unmotivated and arbitrary restriction they tacitly impose on the identification of individuals.

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Gabriel Sandu
University of Helsinki

Citations of this work

Modal Logic and Philosophy.Sten Lindström & Krister Segerberg - 2007 - In Patrick Blackburn, Johan van Benthem & Frank Wolter (eds.), Handbook of Modal Logic. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Elsevier. pp. 1149-1214.
Intuition and Philosophical Methodology.John Symons - 2008 - Axiomathes 18 (1):67-89.
Quinus ab Omni Nævo Vindicatus.John P. Burgess - 1997 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 27 (sup1):25-65.

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