Reference and empty reference

Hochsmann, Hyun Mo


Hochsmann, Hyun Mo (1976) Reference and empty reference.

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The stage setting for the thesis is the intimate connection between the problem of reference and that of intensionality. The thesis is a survey of attempts to arrive at an account of truth and meaning for languages'containing empty singular terms.

We begin with a general account of intensional predicates.We give reasons to doubt that intensional verbs can take direct objects, and adopt Quine's strategy for intensional predicates like "seek", "worship", "refer". We discover certain complexities in verbs like "love", "hate".

When we examine the standard formal semantics we discover that to accommodate empty reference, we have to modify that approach. There are several ways to take in empty names. They fall broadly into two categories: theories without truth value gaps and theories with them. None of the theories which we examine is without difficulty. To dispose of empty reference would mean losing an important part of our discourse about the universe. We attempt to give an account based on the Kripkean theory of truth. This allows truth value gaps but retains the equivalence. Our proposal is not successful.This leaves no choice but to return to the standard formal semantical framework without gaps and to a theory of Tyler Burge. This is unfortunately incomplete. It may not be completable. Many semantically significant occurrences of empty names can be got into opaque contexts. For these we give an account which is inspired by Frege's account of "als ob" in "Ausfuhrungen Uber Sinn und Bedeutung" in the Nachrelasscne Schriften and by Davidson's analysis of oratio obliqua.

Existential statements we put on one side as a special problem. Residual occurrences of empty names in transparent contexts are explained metalinguistically.

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This is a Accepted version
This version's date is: 1976
This item is not peer reviewed

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Item TypeThesis (Doctoral)
TitleReference and empty reference
AuthorsHochsmann, Hyun Mo
Uncontrolled KeywordsLinguistics; Language, Literature And Linguistics; Empty; Reference; Reference


Deposited by () on 31-Jan-2017 in Royal Holloway Research Online.Last modified on 07-Feb-2017


Digitised in partnership with ProQuest, 2015-2016. Institution: University of London, Bedford College (United Kingdom).