Speaker's reference, semantic reference and public reference

Smit, J. P. (2018)

CITATION: Smit, J. P. 2018. Speaker's reference, semantic reference and public reference. Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus, 55:133-143, doi:10.5842/55-0-777.

The original publication is available at http://spilplus.journals.ac.za

Article

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Kripke (1977) views Donnellan’s (1966) misdescription cases as cases where semantic reference and speaker’s reference come apart. Such cases, however, are also cases where semantic reference conflicts with a distinct species of reference I call “public reference”, i.e. the object that the cues publicly available at the time of utterance indicate is the speaker’s referent of the utterance. This raises the question: do the misdescription cases trade on the distinction between semantic reference and speaker’s reference, or the distinction between semantic reference and public reference? I argue that Kripke’s own construal in terms of semantic reference and speaker’s reference is at best incomplete, and probably wrong. I also explain the general importance of the notion of ‘public reference’.

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