The aim of this paper is to address the semantic issue of the nature of the representation I and of the transcendental designation, i.e., the self-referential apparatus involved in transcendental apperception. The I think, the bare or empty representation I, is the representational vehicle of the concept of transcendental subject; as such, it is a simple representation. The awareness of oneself as thinking is only expressed by the I: the intellectual representation which performs a referential function of the spontaneity of (...) a thinking subject. To begin with, what exactly does Kant mean when he states that I is a simple and empty representation? Secondly, can the features of the representation I and the correlative transcendental designation explain the indexical nature of the I? Thirdly, do the Kantian considerations on indexicality anticipate any of the semantic elements or, if nothing else, the spirit of the directreference theory? (shrink)
Most directreference theorists about indexicals and proper names have adopted the thesis that singular propositions about physical objects are composed of physical objects and properties.1 There have been a number of recent proponents of such a view, including Scott Soames, Nathan Salmon, John Perry, Howard Wettstein, and David Kaplan.2 Since Kaplan is the individual who is best known for holding such a view, let's call a proposition that is composed of objects and properties a K-proposition. In this (...) paper, I will attempt to show that a directreference view about the content of proper names and indexicals leads very naturally to the position that all singular propositions about physical objects are K-propositions.3 Then, I will attempt to show that this view of propositions is false. I will spend the bulk of the paper on this latter task. My goal in the paper, then, is to show that adopting the directreference thesis comes at a cost problems the view has with problems such as opacity and the significance of some identity statements; it comes at even more of a cost). (shrink)
It is argued here that there is no fact of the matter between directreference theory and neo-Fregeanism. To get a more precise idea of the central thesis of this paper, consider the following two claims: (i) While directreference theory and neo-Fregeanism can be developed in numerous ways, they can be developed in essentially parallel ways; that is, for any (plausible) way of developing directreference theory, there is an essentially parallel way of (...) developing neo-Fregeanism, and vice versa. And (ii) for each such pair of theories, there is no fact of the matter as to which of them is superior; or more precisely, they are tied in terms of factual accuracy. These are sweeping claims that cannot be fully justified in a single paper. But arguments are given here that motivate these theses, i.e., that suggest that they are very likely true. (shrink)
I argue that Fregeanism with respect to proper names—the view that modes of presentation are relevant to the contents of proper names—is able to account for the thesis that there are necessarily true a posteriori identity propositions such as the one expressed in “Hesperus is identical with Phosphorus”, whereas the DirectReference Theory—according to which the semantic function of certain expressions, e.g., proper names, is only to pick out an object —is able to deal with only their necessary (...) truth. Thus, at least in so far as necessarily true a posteriori identity propositions are concerned, Fregeanism should be preferred to the DirectReference Theory. (shrink)
I defend what I believe to be a new variation on Kripkean themes, for the purpose of providing an improved way to understand the referring functions of proper names. I begin by discussing roles played by perceptual perspectives in the use of proper names, and then broaden the discussion to include what I call cognitive perspectives. Although both types of perspectives underwrite the existence of intentional intermediaries between proper names and their referents, the existence of these intentional intermediaries does not (...) entail that a Kripke-inspired view of directreference must be abandoned. At the same time, the existence of these intermediaries can be seen to play illuminating roles as regards the referring functions of proper names in the following types of cases, among others: (a) where different names pick out the same subject; (b) where names are empty. Along the way, I argue that perspectival views are not something inside the head of language users as intended by Putnam in his well-known discussion of meaning. (shrink)
This volume puts forward a distinct new theory of directreference, blending insights from both the Fregean and the Russellian traditions, and fitting the general theory of language understanding used by those working on the pragmatics of natural language.
According to Donnellan the characteristic mark of a referential use of a definite description is the fact that it can be used to pick out an individual that does not satisfy the attributes in the description. Friends and foes of the referential/attributive distinction have equally dismissed that point as obviously wrong or as a sign that Donnellan’s distinction lacks semantic import. I will argue that, on a strict semantic conception of what it is for an expression to be a genuine (...) referential device, Donnellan is right: if a use of a definite description is referential, it has got to be possible for it to refer to an object independently of any attributes associated with the description, including those that constitute its conventional meaning. (shrink)
According to Donnellan the characteristic mark of a referential use of a definite description is the fact that it can be used to pick out an individual that does not satisfy the attributes in the description. Friends and foes of the referential/attributive distinction have equally dismissed that point as obviously wrong or as a sign that Donnellan's distinction lacks semantic import. I will argue that, on a strict semantic conception of what it is for an expression to be a genuine (...) referential device, Donnellan is right: if a use of a definite description is referential, it must be possible for it to refer to an object independently of any attributes associated with the description, including those that constitute its conventional meaning. (shrink)
(1) The propositions we believe and say are _Russellian_ _propositions_: structured propositions whose basic components are the objects and properties our thoughts and speech acts are about. (2) Many singular terms.
In this essay I defend a theory of psychological explanation that is based on the joint commitment to directreference and computationalism. I offer a new solution to the problem of Frege Cases. Frege Cases involve agents who are unaware that certain expressions corefer (e.g. that 'Cicero' and 'Tully' corefer), where such knowledge is relevant to the success of their behavior, leading to cases in which the agents fail to behave as the intentional laws predict. It is generally (...) agreed that Frege Cases are a major problem, if not the major problem, that this sort of theory faces. In this essay, I hope to show that the theory can surmount the Frege Cases. (shrink)
Directreference theory faces serious prima facie counterexamples which must be explained away (e.g., that it is possible to know a priori that Hesperus = Phosphorus). This is done by means of various forms of pragmatic explanation. But when those explanations that provisionally succeed are generalized to deal with analogous prima facie counterexamples concerning the identity of propositions, a fatal dilemma results. Either identity must be treated as a four-place relation (contradicting what just about everyone, including direct (...)reference theorists, takes to be essential to identity). Or directreference theorists must incorporate a view that was rejected in pretty much our first lesson about identity—namely, that Hesperus at twilight is not identical to Hesperus at dawn. One way of the other, the directreference theory is thus inconsistent with basic principles concerning the logic of identity, which nearly everyone, including directreference theorists, take as starting points. (shrink)
I want to begin by distinguishing between what I will call a pure Fregean theory of reference and a theory of directreference. A pure Fregean theory of reference holds that all reference to objects is determined by a sense or content. The kind of theory I have in mind is obviously inspired by Frege, but I will not be concerned with whether it is the theory that Frege himself held.1 A theory of direct (...)reference, as I will understand it, denies that all reference to objects is determined by sense or content. We will also distinguish between a theory of reference for thought, and for language. This gives us a fourfold classification of theories. What is puzzling about directreference theories is not that the semantics of an expression in a public language should assign as its semantic value just a referent, but how such facts could be understood to reflect an underlying feature of thought. There are two interconnected aspects to this.. (shrink)
result from combining the determiners `this' or `that' with syntactically simple or complex common noun phrases such as `woman' or `woman who is taking her skis off'. Thus, `this woman', and `that woman who is taking her skis off' are complex demonstratives. There are also plural complex demonstratives such as `these skis' and `those snowboarders smoking by the gondola'. My book Complex Demonstratives: A Quantificational Account argues against what I call the directreference account of complex demonstratives (henceforth (...) DRCD) and defends a quantificational account of complex demonstratives. In two recent papers, Nathan Salmon has criticized one of the book's arguments against DRCD. In this essay I show that Salmon's criticism fails. I also show that the version of DRCD that Salmon ends up endorsing is false. (shrink)
On some formulations of DirectReference the semantic value, relative to a context of utterance, of a rigid singular term is just its referent. In response to the apparent possibility of a difference in truth value of two sentences just alike save for containing distinct but coreferential rigid singular terms, some proponents of DirectReference have held that any two such sentences differ only pragmatically. Some have also held, more specifically, that two such sentences differ by (...) conveying distinct conversational implicata, and that a conflation of implicatum with semantic content leads speakers to judge such sentences capable of differing in truth value. It is argued here that this latter defense of DirectReference employs false explanans, on the ground that speakers conflate semantic content with implicatum only in quite special cases, and we have independent grounds for thinking that sentences reporting speech acts and attitudes are not cases of this sort. (shrink)
In this paper I challenge recent externalist interpretations of Ockham’s theory of intuitive cognition. I begin by distinguishing two distinct theses that defenders of the externalist interpretation typically attribute to Ockham: a ‘directreference thesis’, according to which intuitive cognitions are states that lack all internal, descriptive content; and a ‘causal thesis’, according to which intuitive states are wholly determined by causal connections they bear to singular objects. I then argue that neither can be plausibly credited to Ockham. (...) In particular, I claim that the causal thesis doesn’t square with Ockham’s account of supernaturally produced intuition and that the directreference thesis sits uneasily with Ockham’s characterization of the intentional structure of intuitive states. (shrink)
Angle Grinder Man removes wheel locks from cars in London.1 He is something of a folk hero, saving drivers from enormous parking and towing ﬁ nes, and has succeeded thus far in eluding the authorities. In spite of his cape and lamé tights, he is no ﬁ ction; he’s a real person. By contrast, Pegasus, Zeus and the like are ﬁ ctions. None of them is real. In fact, not only is each of them different from the others, all differ (...) from Angle Grinder Man. After all, Zeus throws thunderbolts but doesn’t remove boots from cars; unlike Superman, Angle Grinder Man couldn’t leap over a parked Mini, and all sightings suggest that he is a human being, not a horse. According to the charmingly austere theory of DirectReference, a proper name’s meaning is simply its referent.2 Two proper names with.. (shrink)
SCIENTISTS HAVE DISCOVERED that water is H2O. Water is H2O is true. But is it a necessary truth? In other words, is it true in all possible worlds? Some people think it is. For example Hilary Putnam, in his well-known Twin Earth argument, concludes that "water is H2O" is necessarily true; thus a liquid which phenomenally resembles H2O and fits the description of water in almost all aspects, but has the chemical formula XYZ, cannot be water. Saul Kripke has made (...) a similar claim about the necessary identity between water and H2O. Because this type of truth is based on empirical discoveries, Kripke calls truths of this sort "necessary a posteriori." The thesis shared by Putnam and Kripke has two premises: a realist view that natural kinds exist independently of human cognition, and a theory of directreference of natural kind terms. Opposing the view that natural kind terms pick out objects through descriptions, Putnam and Kripke hold that natural kind terms pick out natural kinds in the world in a direct way. Based on these two premises, they argue that, if two natural kind terms, A and B, designate the same thing in the world, "A = B" expresses a necessary identity. (shrink)
Whereas it appears that direct, or causal, theories dominate philosophy’s theories of reference, and it is widely held that they present an insuperable obstacle for a fictional character’s name to refer, I attempt to show not only that they can be easily made compatible with such theories, but that reference to the fictional fits rather smoothly into the distinctive articles of current theories of directreference. However, the issues about reference to fictional characters goes (...) well beyond those points, so its compatibility with direct referential theories is not a demonstration that names of fictional things in fact refer. This essay argues only that certain popular objections to fictional reference are unsound. Moreover, if those references were to occur, it would remove a serious self-inflicted conundrum over negative existentials, one from which those raising it seem unable to extract themselves credibly. (shrink)
I discuss three puzzles of probability theory which seem connected with problems of directreference and rigid designation. The resolution of at least one of them requires referential use of definite descriptions in probability statements. I argue that contrary to common opinion all these puzzles are in a way still unsolved: They seem to exemplify cases in which a change of probabilities is rationally required, even though any specific change presupposes unjustified assumptions.
Moore's Open Question Argument has been heavily debated ever since it was presented over 100 years ago. In the current paper, it is argued that for the realist, and contrary to the received view by many theorists in the debate, the argument in fact lends strong support for non-naturalism. In particular, David Brink's naturalist defense utilizing directreference theory is scrutinized. It is argued that an application of directreference to moral kinds, rather than defusing the (...) Open Question Argument, actually underscores the non-naturalist conclusion. The naturalist argument depends heavily on the analogue between natural kinds and moral kinds. It is argued that the Open Question Argument provides prima facie evidence against the idea that moral kinds are natural kinds, and that the naturalist arguments do not overturn this evidence. Moreover, it is argued that similar reasons to those which render directreference unviable for moral terms also meet two further potential objections against the Open Question Argument, and it is concluded that the argument carries considerable force against the moral naturalist. (shrink)
In the paper, I discuss a possibility of defending the DirectReference theory from its most dangerous threaten which is the notorious Frege's puzzle. I discuss two possible ways of doing that. First is based on King's theory of propositions as facts. I show that tools provided by King's theory are not enough to solve the puzzle. More promising is a method supported by new Soames's theory of propositions as cognitive event-types. I try to show that this framework (...) allows us to develop a satisfying solution of the puzzle, which focuses on the notion of the cognitive value of the sentence. (shrink)
Everything you wanted to know about directreference and always dared to ask is contained in Recanati's new book, which is not only a comprehensive survey on the received doctrine but also an original attempt to find a new way out of the many puzzles which surround the "new theory of reference" (in H. Wettstein's words) since its origins. Principles and conceptions are indeed acutely specified and Recanati's own theses are argued for in a very subtle and (...) rigorous way. One cannot leave the volume without the impression that his understanding of the subject has been radically deepened and enlightened. A thorough analysis of such a detailed work would probably need a paper as long as the volume itself. Thus, I will limit myself to reconstruct three general aims of the book and to discuss some of the issues they raise. These aims are: i) to find a new criterion for the referentiality of directly referential terms (from now on, DR terms); ii) to develop a multi-layered pragmatics which allows one to deal pragmatically with what has been hitherto considered as belonging to a semantic layer only; iii) to put forward a truth-conditional pragmatic analysis of belief reports which accounts for the semantic import of the non truth-conditional thought underlying a linguistic utterance. Let me deal with i) first. Recanati puts forward a criterion of referentiality which in his mind allows one to tell de jure rigid designators (names, indexicals: what we have above labeled DR terms) from de facto ones (definite descriptions such as "the cube root of 27"). The former, not the latter, directly designate their referent since they are type-referential. He defines type-referentiality as follows: A term is (type)-referential if and only if its linguistic meaning includes a feature, call it 'REF', by virtue of which it indicates that the truth-condition ... of the utterance where it occurs is singular. (p.17) Suppose we take the following two utterances, "3 is odd" and "The cube root of 27 is odd", where the former contains a de jure, the latter a de facto, rigid designator. Although both utterances have singular truth-conditions, let us say are associated with a singular proposition to the effect that the number 3 is odd, the former, but not the latter, presents itself as true iff 3 is odd, i.e.. (shrink)
It is an interesting and important linguistic fact that we sometimes use singular terms — proper names or indexicals — to refer to wholly future individuals. Given this fact, and given the further fact that wholly future individuals are contingent and indeterminate, neither the “descriptivist” theory of singular reference, nor the “causal theory,” nor Gareth Evans’s “mixed” theory, nor even the “classical” directreference theory developed by David Kaplan, can account for future singular reference. Only a (...) semantic strategy drawn from directreference theory is able to solve the puzzle. But in order to solve it, the very idea of directreference must be extended by invoking two important supplementary notions: “reference delivery systems,” and “referential handiness or skill.” With the addition of these notions — which are updatings of some ideas sketched by Martin Heidegger in Being and Time — directreference theory effectively accounts for the possibility of future singular reference. But just insofar as the puzzle is solvable along these lines, it follows that the theory of reference cannot be “naturalized.”. (shrink)
This article discusses two puzzles regarding identity questions: (i) certain definites cannot occur in the post-copular position of identity questions; and (ii) the same definites are the only possible answers to identity questions with post-copular names. We demonstrate that the range of these definites crucially depends on interlocutors' shared assumptions about how entities in the physical surroundings are perceived and categorized. We propose that these definites are directly referential in the sense of Kaplan (1989a,b), and only contribute the referent itself (...) to the semantic composition. To explain the asymmetry between perceptually grounded descriptions and proper names, we draw on Gupta's (1980) framework of relative identity. This analysis suggests that directreference is not always determined lexically, but is—at least in part—a pragmatic phenomenon. More generally, this phenomenon shows that natural language is sensitive to the source of information in the common ground. (shrink)
There is a prima facie conflict between the semantical theory of directreference and an intuitively plausible view often called 'individualism'. Directreference theory is the view that certain expressions pick out their referent directly, without any intervening semantical mechanism. In order to describe the meaning of a sentence which contain such an expression, we have to mention the referent itself. Individualism is a view that mental states are individuated without reference to the subject's environment, (...) either social or physical, and therefore without mentioning an external object of reference. ;I argue that there is no conflict because it is a mistake to carry over the results of a semantical theory into a theory of mental content. My argument ultimately relies on a certain understanding of the difficult notions of mental content and linguistic meaning, gained in part by a close analysis of the historical context in which the theory of reference emerged out of the parallel work in the theory of intentionality. Fundamentally, the elucidation of these concepts is the principal aim of the dissertation, rather than the dismantling of an apparent conflict between two currently accepted views. ;There are two ways in which the conflict may be thought to arise. One argument relies on the identification of linguistic meaning with mental content. Against this I argue that we cannot hold both directreference and the thesis, crucial to the argument, that linguistic meaning is identical to the thought-content of a competent. The short argument for conflict, therefore, fails. ;The second argument for the conflict is less direct. There are some thoughts, called De Re, which are said to constitute a direct connection between thinker and object. It is often thought that such thoughts are the ones attributed correctly using directly referential expressions. But what we attribute in such cases are just mental states whose attribution essentially involves the extra-mental objects of thought themselves, pace individualism. I argue that this argument depends on a conception of De Re, inherited from W. V. O. Quine, which mistakenly collapses issues of mental content with those of thought-attribution. (shrink)
The DirectReference account of the semantics of singular terms is widely assumed to be inconsistent with the traditional Individualist account of psychological states. Because of this assumption, and because of the weight of the evidence for DirectReference, Anti-Individualism has found supporters despite its counterintuitiveness. In this dissertation, it is argued that DirectReference and Individualism are not genuinely inconsistent, but that the inconsistency emerges only with the additional assumption of Propositionalism--the orthodox, proposition-based (...) framework for understanding thought and language. Consequently, it is not necessary to endorse Anti-Individualism in order to accept DirectReference, so long as Propositionalism is accepted only in an attenuated form, if at all. ;It is argued that the best strategy for resolving the inconsistency is to retain all of Propositionalism apart from the Relational Analysis of belief ascriptions. An alternative analysis--the Quantified Relational Analysis --is developed and motivated. According to QRA, an ascription of the form X believes that S attributes the property of believing some member of the class of propositions containing the proposition that S and finer-grained versions of it. QRA is extended also to de re belief locutions. The conjunction of DirectReference, Individualism, and the remnants of Propositionalism plus QRA is termed Russellian Non-Parallelism. ;Like all DirectReference theories, Russellian Non-Parallelism has the consequence that co-referring names and other genuine terms are freely substitutable for each other, despite the datum that ordinary speakers intuitively regard such substitutions in belief contexts as suspect. These intuitions are accounted for both pragmatically and semantically. The pragmatic explanation specifies a mechanism whereby the audience sometimes infers from the choice of genuine terms the subject's way of thinking of the objects involved. The semantic explanation motivates an idiomatic reading of ascriptions, on which, under certain circumstances, the choice of co-referring terms in ascriptions literally indicates different belief contents. Russellian Non-Parallelism is then applied to enhanced substitution puzzles and to some other traditional problems, such as the contingent a priori. Finally there is a discussion of pertinent contemporary literature. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that questions about the semantics of rigid designation are commonly and illicitly run together with distinct issues, such as questions about the metaphysics of essence and questions about the theoretical legitimacy of the possible-worlds framework. I discuss in depth two case studies of this phenomenon – the first concerns the relation between rigid designation and reference, the second concerns the application of the notion of rigidity to general terms. I end by drawing out some (...) conclusions about the relations between rigid designation, semantic frameworks, reference, and essence. (shrink)
This paper explores the psychological analogues of a cluster of arguments that have played an important role in motivating a now widespread, reference-based approach in philosophy of language. What I will call the psychological analogues of Kripke-style arguments provide a substantial motivation for a reference-based approach to concepts. Insofar as such an approach is rarely given serious consideration, the availability of these arguments suggests the need for a rethinking of some foundational assumptions in philosophy of mind and other (...) branches of the cognitive sciences. (shrink)
If [C1-3] are true, then we must identity some analyticity-relevant property other than character and content which differs between “Hesperus” and “Phosphorus.” On Gill’s view this is the property of having a certain reference determiner.
: In this paper I argue that questions about the semantics of rigid designation are commonly and illicitly run together with distinct issues, such as questions about the metaphysics of essence and questions about the theoretical legitimacy of the possible‐worlds framework. I discuss in depth two case studies of this phenomenon – the first concerns the relation between rigid designation and reference, the second concerns the application of the notion of rigidity to general terms. I end by drawing out (...) some conclusions about the relations between rigid designation, semantic frameworks, reference, and essence. (shrink)
There are two interpretations of what it means for a singular term to be referentially direct, one truth-conditional and the other cognitive. It has been argued that on the former interpretation, both proper names and indexicals refer directly, whereas on the latter only proper names are directly referential. However, these interpretations in fact apply to the same singular terms. This paper argues that, if conceived in purely normative terms, the linguistic meaning of indexicals can no longer be held to (...) make these terms referentially indirect under the second interpretation. This result is then generalized to proper names, by ascribing them a normative meaning as well. (shrink)
Angle Grinder Man removes wheel locks from cars in London.1 He is something of a folk hero, saving drivers from enormous parking and towing ﬁ nes, and has succeeded thus far in eluding the authorities. In spite of his cape and lamé tights, he is no ﬁ ction; he’s a real person. By contrast, Pegasus, Zeus and the like are ﬁ ctions. None of them is real. In fact, not only is each of them different from the others, all differ (...) from Angle Grinder Man. After all, Zeus throws thunderbolts but doesn’t remove boots from cars; unlike Superman, Angle Grinder Man couldn’t leap over a parked Mini, and all sightings suggest that he is a human being, not a horse. (shrink)