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Semantic Intuitions and the Theory of Reference
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
Number of Authors: 12017 (English)In: Teorema, ISSN 0210-1602, Vol. 36, no 3, p. 95-116Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Experiments on the semantic intuitions of lay speakers concerning proper names have suggested that there is great variation in these intuitions, across individuals and across cultures. How should the semanticist respond to these results? Machery et. al. (2011) suggest three ways of accommodating the variation in intuitions: Deny that intuitions are reliable guides to reference; adopt referential pluralism and grant that names refer differently; or deny the value of non-expert intuitions. Philosophers of language have tended to endorse either the first option, arguing that the type of intuitions tested by Machery et. al. (2004) do not provide real evidence for the theory of reference, or the third option, arguing that lay speaker intuitions are not sufficiently reliable when it comes to semantics. I argue, instead, that the intuitions tested do have evidential value and that the third option need be taken more seriously: referential pluralism. In particular, I address Marti's criticisms of Machery et. al. and her claim that the intuitions tested lack evidential value since they are meta-linguistic [Marti (2009), (2013)]. I argue that the intuitions tested are not meta-linguistic in a problematic way and that they do provide reasons to accept referential pluralism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 36, no 3, p. 95-116
Keywords [en]
Intuitions, Proper Names, Theory of Reference, Evidence, Referential Pluralism
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-148097ISI: 000411906300005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-148097DiVA, id: diva2:1150796
Available from: 2017-10-20 Created: 2017-10-20 Last updated: 2018-05-08Bibliographically approved

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