Ambiguous Reference

Mind 125 (497):145-175 (2016)
  Copy   BIBTEX


One of the central debates in the philosophy of language is that between defenders of the causal-historical and descriptivist theories of reference. Most philosophers involved in the debate support one or the other of the theories. Building on recent experimental work in semantics, we argue that there is a sense in which both theories are correct. In particular, we defend the view that natural kind terms can sometimes take on a causal-historical reading and at other times take on a descriptivist reading. The meaning will shift depending on the conversational setting. The theoretical view has roots in work by Kitcher. We present some original experiments that support the thesis



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 86,168

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles


Added to PP

156 (#101,995)

6 months
5 (#190,647)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

N. Ángel Pinillos
Arizona State University
Shaun Nichols
Cornell University
Ron Mallon
Washington University in St. Louis

References found in this work

Frege’s puzzle.Nathan U. Salmon - 1986 - Ridgeview. Edited by Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel.
Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - Philosophy 56 (217):431-433.

View all 91 references / Add more references