Empty Representations: Reference and Non-Existence

Hardcover | September 14, 2014

EditorManuel Garcia-Carpintero, Genoveva Marti

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It is the linguistic job of singular terms to pick out the objects that we think or talk about. But what about singular terms that seem to fail to designate anything, because the objects they refer to don't exist? We can employ these terms in meaningful thought and talk, which suggests thatthey are succeeding in fulfilling their representational task. A team of leading experts presents new essays on the much-debated problem of empty reference and thought. In the 1960s and 1970s Keith Donnellan, David Kaplan, Saul Kripke and Hilary Putnam initiated a revolution in the then standard conception of reference - a concept at the core of philosophical inquiry. The repercussions of the revolution, particularly felt in metaphysics and epistemology, were soonrefined by other influential writers such as Tyler Burge, Gareth Evans, and John Perry. They argued that some linguistic and mental representations have contents individuated by what they are about - by ordinary referents of expressions such as proper names, indexicals, definite descriptions andcommon nouns, i.e. by planets, people or natural kinds. The view was at odds with a central philosophical presumption at that time: that cognitive and linguistic access to objective reality is indirect and accidental, mediated by general descriptive characterizations, the only constitutive semanticfeature of the expressions; hence its ontological and epistemological repercussions. A turning-point in the debate about how linguistic and mental representation reach external contents concerned the nature of empty mental and linguistic representations, framed by means of the very same expressionscrucially invoked in the Donnellan-Kaplan-Kripke-Putnam arguments. The papers in this volume address different aspects of reference and thought about the (apparently) non-existent.

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It is the linguistic job of singular terms to pick out the objects that we think or talk about. But what about singular terms that seem to fail to designate anything, because the objects they refer to don't exist? We can employ these terms in meaningful thought and talk, which suggests thatthey are succeeding in fulfilling their repres...

Manuel Garcia-Carpintero was awarded a "Distincio de Recerca" for senior researchers by the Catalan Government between 2002 and 2008, and in 2009 the prize "ICREA Academia" for excellence in research, also funded by the Generalitat de Catalunya, to work on a book on the nature of assertion and reference (2009-2013). Genoveva Marti is ...

other books by Manuel Garcia-Carpintero

Format:HardcoverDimensions:400 pagesPublished:September 14, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199647054

ISBN - 13:9780199647057

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Table of Contents

Manuel Garcia-Carpintero: Introduction1. Cian Dorr: Transparency and the Context-Sensitivity of Attitude Reports2. Robin Jeshion: Two Dogmas of Russellianism3. Peter Pagin: Intersubjective Intentional Identity4. Kathrin Gluer-Pagin and Peter Pagin: Vulcan Might Have Existed, and Neptune Not: On the Semantics of Empty Names5. Frederick Kroon: Content Relativism and the Problem of Empty Names6. Francois Recanati: Empty Singular Terms in the Mental File Framework7. Kenneth A. Taylor: The Things We Do With Empty Names: Objectual Representations, Non-Veridical Language Games, and Truth Similitude8. Imogen Dickie: A Practical Solution to the Problem of Empty Singular Thought9. Nathan Salmon: What is Existence?10. Greg Ray: The Problem of Negative Existentials Inadvertently Solved11. Mark Sainsbury: Fictional Worlds and Fiction Operators12. Briggs Wright: Many, but almost Holmes?13. Stacie Friend: Notions of Nothing14. Tatjana von Solodkoff: Fictional Realism and Negative Existentials