Referential Uses and the Foundations of Direct Reference

Joseph Almog

in Having in Mind

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199844845
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933501 | DOI:
Referential Uses and the Foundations of Direct Reference

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This chapter focuses on Keith Donnellan’s innovative 1966 paper “Reference and Definite Descriptions.” It suggests that it was in this paper that the now so influential “direct reference” semantic turn originated. It considers Kripe’s analysis of Donnellan, and suggests, contra Kripke, that Donnellan’s notion of referential use is designed to be of semantic significance. Indeed in 1966, Donnellan was submitting in the late sections of his paper, as he was analogizing with Russell’s notion of logically proper names, that referential uses may well be the ground zero of semantic (logical) reference. This is in contrast to Frege’s ground zero of semantics, the notion of denotation.

Keywords: Keith Donnellan; Reference and Definite Descriptions; direct semantic reference; Kripke; referential use

Chapter.  4225 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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