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Andrea Bianchi

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198714088

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198714088.001.0001

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Drawing, Seeing, Referring: Reflections on Macbeth’s Dagger

Drawing, Seeing, Referring: Reflections on Macbeth’s Dagger

(p.173) 8 Drawing, Seeing, Referring: Reflections on Macbeth’s Dagger
On Reference

Marga Reimer

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins by drawing attention to some rather striking parallels between the notions of “drawing an x ” and “seeing an x. ” These parallels, articulated in terms of a distinction between ontic and non-ontic interpretations, are then extended to the notion of “referring to an x. ” Where the x putatively referred to is a hallucination, as in the case of Macbeth’s infamous dagger, reference is to be interpreted non-ontically: there exists no x (real or imaginary) to which the speaker refers. However, via a kind of hypostatization that occurs when an experience as of an x is mistaken for an experience of an x, an abstract artifact is created to which the hallucinating speaker can meaningfully be said to refer.

Keywords:   reference, hallucinations, Macbeth’s dagger, abstract artifacts

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