Introduction: Meaning and Reference

Kent Bach

in Thought and Reference

Published in print February 1994 | ISBN: 9780198240778
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680267 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

Introduction: Meaning and Reference

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This introductory chapter begins with a discussion of the two kinds of reference. It then discusses the distinction between semantics and pragmatics. Pragmatics, or the theory of language use, is viewed as the theory of communication (speaker meaning) and speech acts. As for semantics, we think of it as covering truth and reference as well as (or instead of, for Quinean semantic sceptics) meaning and synonymy. Whether or not truth and reference are the semantic properties of choice for a given theory, for all semantic theories they are properties that belong to linguistic expressions. The chapter also considers the conflict between descriptive and non-descriptive theories on singular thought and singular reference.

Keywords: meaning; reference; semantics; pragmatics; singular thought; singular reference

Chapter.  3100 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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