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Referential Intentions: A Response to Buchanan and Peet

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Buchanan [2014] argues for a Gricean solution to well-known counterexamples to direct reference theories of content. Peet [2016] develops a way to change the counterexample so that it seems to speak against Buchanan's own proposal. I argue that both theorists fail to notice a significant distinction between the kinds of cases at issue. Those appearing to count against direct reference theory must be described such that speakers have false beliefs about the identity of the object to which they intend to refer, beliefs that appear relevant to the determination of what constitutes communicative success. This suggests, further, that cases of this sort do not provide a basis for robust generalizations about singular reference.
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Keywords: communication; confusion; pragmatics; reference; singular terms

Document Type: Discussion

Affiliations: University College Dublin,

Publication date: 03 July 2018

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