The Roots of Reference

Timothy McCarthy

in Radical Interpretation and Indeterminacy

Published in print November 2002 | ISBN: 9780195145069
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833436 | DOI:
 The Roots of Reference

Show Summary Details


Applies the ‘Conformal Framework’ developed in Ch. 2 to some problems of the classical theory of reference, namely, to the question of how the reference of expressions in specific problem categories, in particular, proper names, observational predicates, and natural kind terms, is determined. McCarthy proposes interpretationally motivated accounts of the reference of these terms that cut across the conflicting accounts presented by causal and descriptive theories of reference. The striking feature of these accounts is their ‘local holism’: in each of the three cases under consideration, the answer provided takes the form of saying how the reference of expressions of the given sort is fixed relative to the interpretations of expressions in one or both of the other sorts. The reference mechanisms suggested stand in a dialectical relation to the Conformal Framework, in the sense that they are justified by the latter and at the same time lend support the Framework's constitutive principles proposed in Ch. 2.

Keywords: Conformal Framework; classical theory of reference; descriptive theory of reference; interpretation; local holism; natural kind terms; observational predicates; proper names; theory of reference

Chapter.  40725 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.