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Roads to Reference: An Essay on Reference Fixing in Natural Language

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2020.05. : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Mario Gómez-Torrente, Roads to Reference: An Essay on Reference Fixing in Natural Language, Oxford University Press, 2019, 233pp., $70.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780198846277. Reviewed by Manuel García-Carpintero, University of Barcelona This book is a masterful treatment of its topic. In Kripke's terminology, the topic is reference-fixing, for a representative class of referential expressions: indexicals, proper names, Arabic numerals, kind-terms, and terms for sensible qualities like colors. Elaborating on Kripke's ideas, Kaplan and Stalnaker articulated a distinction between semantics and metasemantics, ascribing complementary roles to each: to the former category belong theories that assign meanings to their bearers, prominent among them linguistic expressions; to the latter, theories that provide "the basis" for ascribing such meanings (Kaplan 1989, 573-4) or state "what the facts are" that confer these meanings on their bearers (Stalnaker 1997, 535). This is a metaphysical undertaking, concerning the grounding of meaning-facts; i.e., what determines, fixes or constitutes them. When... Read More

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News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

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