Predicate Reference - Oxford Handbooks
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date: 29 November 2015

Abstract and Keywords

Whether a predicate is a referential expression depends upon what reference is conceived to be. Even if it is granted that reference is a relation between words and worldly items, the referents of expressions being the items to which they are so related, this still leaves considerable scope for disagreement about whether predicates refer. One of Frege's great contributions to the philosophy of language was to introduce an especially liberal conception of reference relative to which it is unproblematic to suppose that predicates are referring expressions. According to this liberal conception, each significant expression in a language has its own distinctive semantic role or power, a power to effect the truth-value of the sentences in which it occurs.

Keywords: referential expression, predicate, wordly items, philosophy of language, liberal conception, truth-value, sentences

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