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Meaning and Normativity$
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Allan Gibbard

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199646074

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646074.001.0001

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Reference, Truth, and Context

Reference, Truth, and Context

(p.142) 7 Reference, Truth, and Context
Meaning and Normativity

Allan Gibbard

Oxford University Press

The chapter treats context-dependence of words’ and concepts’ reference, with truth a special case of reference. On a naturalistic analysis, reference is to explain communication of beliefs. Taken normative, reference should serve to explain how one ought to rely on beliefs of others. One should move from believing what Speaker ought to believe to centering a like belief on Speaker as one identifies her from one’s standpoint. A basic principle governs this: one should treat evidence one knows a speaker has as evidence for how things are as displaced to her standpoint. A claim at another standpoint, consisting of a thought and its context, is not an object of belief. Singular terms acquired from others are treated so as to capture the virtues of direct reference theory. Truth-conditional semantics is glossed accordingly.

Keywords:   reference, truth, communication, standpoint, singular terms, direct reference theory, truth-conditions

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