Reference, Truth, and Context

Allan Gibbard

in Meaning and Normativity

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199646074
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191741968 | DOI:
Reference, Truth, and Context

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The chapter treats context-dependence of words’ and concepts’ reference, with truth a special case of reference. On a naturalistic analysis, reference is to explain communication of beliefs. Taken normative, reference should serve to explain how one ought to rely on beliefs of others. One should move from believing what Speaker ought to believe to centering a like belief on Speaker as one identifies her from one’s standpoint. A basic principle governs this: one should treat evidence one knows a speaker has as evidence for how things are as displaced to her standpoint. A claim at another standpoint, consisting of a thought and its context, is not an object of belief. Singular terms acquired from others are treated so as to capture the virtues of direct reference theory. Truth-conditional semantics is glossed accordingly.

Keywords: reference; truth; communication; standpoint; singular terms; direct reference theory; truth-conditions

Chapter.  11883 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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