Single Idea 10448

[catalogued under 19. Language / B. Reference / 4. Descriptive Reference / b. Reference by description]

Full Idea

Strawson claimed that virtually any expression that can be used to refer to one thing in one context can be used to refer to something else in another context. Maybe expressions still refer, but only relative to a context.

Gist of Idea

If an expression can refer to anything, it may still instrinsically refer, but relative to a context


comment on Peter F. Strawson (On Referring [1950]) by Kent Bach - What Does It Take to Refer? 22.2

Book Reference

'Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language', ed/tr. Lepore,E/Smith,B [OUP 2008], p.535

A Reaction

If there is complete freedom, then Bach's criticism doesn't sound plausible. If something is semantically referential, that should impose pretty tight restrictions on speakers. Why distinguish names as intrinsically referential, and descriptions as not?