Single Idea 8355

[catalogued under 19. Language / B. Reference / 5. Speaker's Reference]

Full Idea

'Mentioning', or 'referring', is not something an expression does; it is something that someone can use an expression to do.

Gist of Idea

Expressions don't refer; people use expressions to refer

Source

Peter F. Strawson (On Referring [1950], 2)

Book Reference

'The Theory of Meaning', ed/tr. Parkinson,G.H.R. [OUP 1978], p.68


A Reaction

That can't be whole story, because I might make a mistake when referring, so that I used the expression to refer to x, but unfortunately the words themselves referred to y. The power of language exceeds the intentions of speakers.