Reference and Existence: The John Locke Lectures

Oxford University Press (2013)
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Abstract

Reference and Existence, Saul Kripke's John Locke Lectures for 1973, can be read as a sequel to his classic Naming and Necessity. It confronts important issues left open in that work -- among them, the semantics of proper names and natural kind terms as they occur in fiction and in myth; negative existential statements; the ontology of fiction and myth. In treating these questions, he makes a number of methodological observations that go beyond the framework of his earlier book -- including the striking claim that fiction cannot provide a test for theories of reference and naming. In addition, these lectures provide a glimpse into the transition to the pragmatics of singular reference that dominated his influential paper, " Speaker's Reference and Semantic Reference " -- a paper that helped reorient linguistic and philosophical semantics. Some of the themes have been worked out in later writings by other philosophers -- many influenced by typescripts of the lectures in circulation -- but none have approached the careful, systematic treatment provided here. The virtuosity of Naming and Necessity -- the colloquial ease of the tone, the dazzling, on-the-spot formulations, the logical structure of the overall view gradually emerging over the course of the lectures -- is on display here as well.

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Saul Kripke
CUNY Graduate Center

Citations of this work

Impossible Fictions Part I: Lessons for Fiction.Daniel Nolan - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (2):1-12.
Abstract Objects.Gideon Rosen - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Amodal Completion and Knowledge.Grace Helton & Bence Nanay - 2019 - Analysis 79 (3):415-423.
Fictional, Metafictional, Parafictional.François Recanati - 2018 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 118 (1):25-54.

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