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date: 19 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The traditional descriptivist distinction between the sense and reference of a proper name came under attack in the twentieth century. Quine’s attack on synonymy (sameness of sense) undermined the analytic–synthetic distinction, but his argument, in the form he gave it, depended on equating analyticity and necessity. Kripke and Putnam attack the idea that the sense of a name determines its reference and serves as a mode of presentation for its reference. They generalize their arguments to natural kind terms too. Kripke articulates a different way to understand necessity that reveals the possibility of contingent apriori and necessary aposteriori truths, thus breaking the connection Quine saw between analyticity and necessity, while leaving much of substance in Quine’s criticisms of the notion of synonymy intact. We place Putnam somewhere between Quine and Kripke on meaning, necessity, and analyticity. We close with an examination of the central use of philosophical intuition in these arguments and think Quine would find much to like in the rise of experimental philosophy.

Keywords: W. V. O. Quine, S. Kripke, H. Putnam, sense, reference, analyticity, apriority, aposteriority, necessity, necessary aposteriori, contingent apriori, synonymy, analytic–synthetic distinction, philosophical intuitions

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