more from Hilary Putnam

Single Idea 9170

[catalogued under 19. Language / B. Reference / 3. Direct Reference / c. Social reference]

Full Idea

Traditional semantic theory leaves out two contributions to the determination of reference - the contribution of society and the contribution of the real world; a better semantic theory must encompass both.

Gist of Idea

We need to recognise the contribution of society and of the world in determining reference


Hilary Putnam (Meaning and Reference [1973], p.161)

Book Reference

'Meaning and Reference', ed/tr. Moore,A.W. [OUP 1993], p.161

A Reaction

I strongly agree that there is a social aspect to reference-fixing, but I am much more dubious about the world 'determining' anything. The whole of his Twin Earth point could be mopped up by a social account, with 'experts' as the key idea.