Speaker's reference, semantic reference and public reference

Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics PLUS 55:133-143 (2018)
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Kripke (1977) views Donnellan's (1966) misdescription cases as cases where semantic reference and speaker's reference come apart. Such cases, however, are also cases where semantic reference conflicts with a distinct species of reference I call "public reference", i.e. the object that the cues publicly available at the time of utterance indicate is the speaker's referent of the utterance. This raises the question: do the misdescription cases trade on the distinction between semantic reference and speaker's reference, or the distinction between semantic reference and public reference? I argue that Kripke's own construal in terms of semantic reference and speaker's reference is at best incomplete, and probably wrong. I also explain the general importance of the notion of 'public reference'.



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J. P. Smit
University of Stellenbosch

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Game Theory and Demonstratives.J. P. Smit - forthcoming - Erkenntnis.

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