The edenic theory of reference

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (3):276-308 (2019)
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Abstract

I argue for a theory of the optimal function of the speech act of referring, called the edenic theory. First, the act of singular reference is defined directly in terms of Gricean communicative intentions. Second, I propose a doxastic constraint on the optimal performance of such acts, stating, roughly, that the speaker must not have any relevant false beliefs about the identity or distinctness of the intended object. In uttering a singular term on an occasion, on this theory, one represents oneself as not having any confused beliefs about the object to which one intends to refer. This paves the way for an intentionalist theory of reference that circumvents well-known problems, which have not been adequately addressed before in the literature.

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Author's Profile

Elmar Unnsteinsson
University College Dublin

References found in this work

The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by John Henry McDowell.
Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell. Edited by G. E. M. Anscombe.
Knowledge and its limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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