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date: 22 October 2018

Abstract and Keywords

The modern discussion of reference begins with a revolt, led by Saul Kripke, against theories of the meaning and reference of proper names inspired by Gottlob Frege and Bertrand Russell. In ‘Naming and Necessity’ (1980) Kripke attacked both the view that the meanings (semantic contents) of names are given by descriptions associated with them by speakers, and the view that their referents are determined (as a matter of linguistic rule) to be the objects that satisfy such descriptions. The view about reference is taken to follow from the view about meaning, but not vice versa. Thus, all of Kripke's arguments against descriptive theories of reference are also arguments against descriptive theories of meaning, but some arguments against the latter do not apply to the former.

Keywords: Saul Kripke, Bertrand Russell, semantic contents, linguistic rule, theories of reference, descriptive theories

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