Introduction: reference and singular thought

John Hawthorne and David Manley

in The Reference Book

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199693672
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739002 | DOI:
Introduction: reference and singular thought

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The discovery of the twin categories of reference and singular thought is widely felt to be one of the landmark achievements of twentieth-century analytic philosophy. On the one hand there is the distinction between bona fide referential expressions of natural language and those that are about objects only in some looser sense. On the other hand there is a corresponding distinction between a thought that is loosely about an object, and one whose bond with an object is robust enough for it to count as genuinely ‘singular’ or ‘de re’. This chapter tries to shed light on these two ideas by focusing on semantic ideas connected with Russell’s category of logically proper names that have been widely brought to bear on their successors.

Keywords: reference; object-dependence; singular term; singular thought; acquaintance; rigidity; logically proper names; David Kaplan; Saul Kripke; Bertrand Russell

Chapter.  19456 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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