Referring to the World: An Opinionated Introduction to the Theory of Reference

ISBN : 9780195144741

Kenneth A. Taylor
312 Pages
163 x 242 mm
Pub date
Jul 2021
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Our words and ideas refer to objects and properties in the external world; this phenomenon is central to thought, language, communication, and science. But great works of fiction are full of names that don't seem to refer to anything! In this book Kenneth A. Taylor explores the myriad of problems that surround the phenomenon of reference. How can words in language and perturbations in our brains come to stand for external objects? Reference is essential to truth, but which is more basic: reference or truth? How can fictional characters play such an important role in imagination and literature, and how does this use of language connect with more mundane uses? Taylor develops a framework for understanding reference, and the theories that other thinkers-past and present-have developed about it. But Taylor doesn't simply tell us what others thought; the book is full of new ideas and analyses, making for a vital final contribution from a seminal philosopher.


Chapter 1: The Mystery of Reference and Objective Representational Content
Chapter 2: Inner Fitness and Outer Cause: The Two Factors of Content
Chapter 3: Against Jazz Combo Theories of Meaning and Reference
Chapter 4: Puzzles of Coreference: Theme and Variations
Chapter 5: Concepts, Conceptions in the Psychology of the Referring Mind
Chapter 6: Representing Representations: The Priority of the De Re
Chapter 7: The Things We Do With Empty Names
Works Cited

About the author: 

Kenneth A. Taylor was Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University from 1995 until his death in 2019.

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