What Determines the Reference of Names? What Determines the Objects of Thought

Erkenntnis 84 (4):741-759 (2019)
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It is fairly widely accepted that Saul Kripke, Keith Donnellan, and others showed in the 1960s–1980s that proper names, in particular uses by speakers, can refer to things free of anything like the epistemic requirements posited by Gottlob Frege and Bertrand Russell. This paper separates two aspects of the Frege–Russell view of name reference: the metaphysical thesis that names in particular uses refer to things in virtue of speakers thinking of those things and the epistemic thesis that thinking of things requires a means of determining which thing one is thinking of. My question is whether the Kripke–Donnellan challenge should lead us to reject,, or both. Contrary to a popular line of thinking that sees practices or conventions, rather than singular thinking, as determinative of linguistic reference, my answer is that we should reject only the epistemic thesis, not the metaphysical one.

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Jessica Pepp
Uppsala University

Citations of this work

In Defense of Donnellan on Proper Names.Antonio Capuano - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (6):1289-1312.

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References found in this work

The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
The meaning of 'meaning'.Hillary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
The Varieties of Reference.Louise M. Antony - 1987 - Philosophical Review 96 (2):275.
Naming and Necessity.Saul A. Kripke - 1985 - Critica 17 (49):69-71.

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