Journal of Semantics 37 (2):297-309 (2020)

This paper revisits a study by Machery et al., suggesting that, in experimental versions of Kripke’s fictional cases on the use of proper names, Westerners are more likely than East Asian participants to show intuitions compatible with Kripke’s causal-historical theory of reference. We conducted two experiments, recruting participants from Norway and Bangladesh, either in English or in the participants’ native languages, using modified cases and a new approach to data analysis. We replicated the results of Machery et al., but we show that the residual finding—i.e., that participants who are not aligned with CH produce responses consistent with a definite descriptions theory of reference—does not hold. Most participants in our experiments, and nearly all those who do not provide CH answers, respond as predicted by a theory that accommodates speaker’s reference in reasoning about uses of proper names, not according to DD. We suggest that cross-cultural variation in this task is real. However, explanations of variation within or across cultures need not invoke competing theories of reference, and can be unified within a single, broadly Kripkean analysis that honors the basic distinction between semantic reference and speaker’s reference.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/jos/ffaa001
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 50,118
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

On Denoting.Bertrand Russell - 2005 - Mind 114 (456):873 - 887.
Naming and Necessity.Saul A. Kripke - 1980 - In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 431-433.
Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1981 - Philosophy 56 (217):431-433.
Naming and Necessity.Saul A. Kripke - 1985 - Critica 17 (49):69-71.

View all 35 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Experimental Semantics.Michael Devitt - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (2):418 - 435.
Attitudes Towards Reference and Replaceability.Christopher Grau & Cynthia L. S. Pury - 2014 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (2):155-168.
Speaker’s Reference, Semantic Reference, and Intuition.Richard Heck - 2018 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 9 (2):251-269.
Semantic Epistemology: Response to Machery.Michael Devitt - 2012 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 27 (2):229-233.
Public Proper Names, Idiolectal Identifying Descriptions.Stavroula Glezakos - 2009 - Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (3):317-326.


Added to PP index

Total views
10 ( #798,862 of 2,324,551 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
10 ( #66,199 of 2,324,551 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes