Predicate reference

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Abstract

Whether a predicate is a referential expression depends upon what reference is conceived to be. Even if it is granted that reference is a relation between words and worldly items, the referents of expressions being the items to which they are so related, this still leaves considerable scope for disagreement about whether predicates refer. One of Frege's great contributions to the philosophy of language was to introduce an especially liberal conception of reference relative to which it is unproblematic to suppose that predicates are referring expressions. According to this liberal conception, each significant expression in a language has its own distinctive semantic role or power, a power to effect the truth-value of the sentences in which it occurs.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language
EditorsErnest Lepore, Barry C. Smith
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages422-474
Number of pages53
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2008