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The Philosophy of Charles TravisLanguage, Thought, and Perception$
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John Collins and Tamara Dobler

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198783916

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198783916.001.0001

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Contextualism and Singular Reference

Contextualism and Singular Reference

(p.181) 9 Contextualism and Singular Reference
The Philosophy of Charles Travis

François Recanati

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the relations between three approaches to the referential/attributive distinction: the Gricean approach advocated by Kripke and others, the two-dimensional approach pioneered by Kaplan and Stalnaker, and the Millian approach favoured by Donnellan. In contrast to the two-dimensional approach, the Millian approach honours the intuitions which led to the rejection of descriptivism, but it is subject to Gricean criticism based on the speaker’s reference/semantic reference distinction. The chapter shows that, suitably elaborated and revised, the Millian approach can be made immune to that criticism. The resulting view, it is argued, applies beyond the case of definite descriptions. It also supports Austin’s and Strawson’s speech act theoretic approach to reference and truth—an approach which Grice initially dismissed and which Travis insightfully attempted to defend and resurrect.

Keywords:   contextualism, singular reference, referential/attributive, ordinary language philosophy, H. P. Grice, Charles Travis, Keith Donnellan, speaker’s meaning

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