Talk:Direct reference theory

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Just to be clear, I don't think that Kripke ever uses the term 'direct reference'. Instead, he talks about rigid designation, and these are not the same exactly. I think that the term 'direct reference' was actually popularized by David Kaplan more than anyone else. Kaplan also talks about rigid designation, but it does not mean the same thing for him and for Kripke (for Kripke, x is a rigid designator iff x refers to the same thing in every possible world in which is refers at all. For Kaplan, the italicized part is removed, precisely because the way he formulates direct reference entails a stronger kind of rigidity.

The theory of direct reference for proper names was advanced by by Ruth Barcan Marcus in "Modalities and Intensional Languages", SYNTHESE, 1961 at a symposium with Quine, Kripke and others as participants. She called such directly referring proper names "tags". Kripke later urged the theory (1971) and thereafter. He called such names "rigid designators".

I know Prof. Kripke and he has said he does not endorse Direct Reference. Rigid designation and direct reference are two separate theses. The former is concerned not with semantics (as is direct reference) but with what object a proper name picks out in counter-factuals (a.k.a. possible worlds). Kripke's thesis of rigid designation does serve as a refutation of description theory for proper names and it does point to the fact that whatever the semantic content of a proper name is, it must include the referent. That said, however, it is still conceptually possible that the meaning of the name include other things as well, as Micheal Devitt has proposed. Discussion of direct reference after Kripke should probably focus on some of his followers, such as Scott Soames and Nathan Salamon who took Kripke's work and re-articulated direct reference theory in light of it. I'll try to edit this soon to reflect this fact. -- PubliusNemo April 28, 2008 —Preceding comment was added at 15:16, 28 April 2008 (UTC)


202.89.182.248 (talk) 04:31, 2 December 2013 (UTC) The last line of the first paragraph used to read "Ludwig Wittgenstein alternately called this position referentialism." To my knowledge he didn't. The citations used to support that claim were improper. One referenced Severin Schroeder, who does call the position referentialism, and does talk about Wittgenstein, although he never says that Wittgenstein calls the position referentialism. The other citation referred to the article by Kallestrup, who doesn't talk about Wittgenstein at all. I assumed the point of the sentence was to mention Wittgenstein, because the fact that direct reference theories are sometimes called referentialism had already been mentioned so I changed it to "Criticisms of this position are often associated with Ludwig Wittgenstein." If I am wrong about Wittgenstein's use of the term 'referentialism' then at the very least some primary source is required.