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Reference and Deference

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According to Putnam, meaning and reference depend on acts of structured cooperation between language-users. For example, laypeople defer to experts regarging the conditions under which something may be called ’gold’. A modest expert may defer to a greater expert. Question: can deference be never-ending? Two theories say no. I expound these, then criticize them. The theories deal with semantic processes bound by a ’stopping’ constraint which are not cases of ordimary deferring. Deferring is normally done for a reason, and a rational person is always disposed to defer if there is good reason.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol, UK

Publication date: 2000-09-01

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