|Reference, in philosophy: relation of a linguistic expression or action to a real object. Reference presupposes the existence of this object. An expression, which corresponds to no object, has no reference, however, may have a meaning. See also unicorn, Pegasus.|
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Sunburn/mental state/Davidson: Although sunburn is identified by reference to something outside the skin, it is nevertheless on the skin - as well as mental states are in the head (though not the meanings), although they are identified by reference to something outside - state of mind: does not go beyond the person - mental state: not identical with physical state.
Perhaps there is no physical difference between high-sunburn and sunburn - but difference, because the causation is different.
- - -
As long as we keep to the basic insight that words and thoughts in the simplest cases refer to the relationship by which they are effected, it is evident that the majority of our simplest views on the world are false.
The reason is that we do not first form concepts and then figure out to what they apply to.
Putnam: microstructure provides similarity for determining the reference (DavidsonVs)
Davidson: causal connections generally relevant for language and reference.
E.g. If the difference between a short-beaked echida and a porcupine is unknown to me, it might be that I describe all the short-beaked echidnas which cross my path as a porcupine. But since I have learned the word "porcupine" in a certain environment, my word "porcupine" does not refer to short-beaked echidnas, but to porcupines.
Rorty VI 123 ff
Rorty: no prospect to explain the reference directly in non-linguistical terminology (independent from sentences). There is certainly a very definite relationship between the word "Kilimanjaro" and a certain speaker, but we are unable to say the least about it if we do not know very well the role of this word in sentences.
Der Mythos des Subjektiven Stuttgart 1993
Handlung und Ereignis Frankfurt 1990
Wahrheit und Interpretation Frankfurt 1990
Der Spiegel der Natur Frankfurt 1997
Philosophie & die Zukunft Frankfurt 2000
Kontingenz, Ironie und Solidarität Frankfurt 1992
Eine Kultur ohne Zentrum Stuttgart 1993
Solidarität oder Objektivität? Stuttgart 1998
Wahrheit und Fortschritt Frankfurt 2000