Meaning and Reference

Wayne A. Davis

in Nondescriptive Meaning and Reference

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9780199261659
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603099 | DOI:
Meaning and Reference

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This chapter focuses on word reference, and shows that the meaning of an expression cannot be identified with its reference to things in the world, rather than its expression of ideas in the mind. It looks at extensionalist versions of the referential theory that focus on objects in the actual world and sets thereof, as well as intensionalist versions that consider other possible worlds and/or properties and relations. It examines the Davidsonian theory, which used a Tarski-style axiomatization for languages to describe the compositionality of language. Truth-theoretic properties can be systematized in an ideational theory using a generative theory of thought, with phrase structure rules and Tarskian reference rules.

Keywords: word reference; reference; extension; intension; truth-conditions; Frege’s problem; Russell’s problem; Cartwright’s problem; Fine terms; Russell’s paradox

Chapter.  10291 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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