Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

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.
Author Item Excerpt Meta data
Buridan, J.
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Reference Geach I 94
Reference/Geach: thesis: the reference of an expression in a sentence must always somehow to be specified independently of the truth value!
For example, if a question is answered with "yes" or "no", the reference of the expressions in the question must be somehow specifiable, regardless of what the correct answer is. (s) Without first knowing whether "yes" or "no". Third.
Geach: a modified paralogism of Buridan: E.g.
In the question, "Is A a Donkey?" A should stand for you if the correct answer is "Yes" and for Brownie, the donkey on the village pasture, if the correct answer is "No".
Consequence: if the correct answer is "yes", then you are a donkey when "no", then Brownie is not a donkey!
So: either you are a donkey, or Brownie is not a donkey.
But Brownie is a donkey, so: you're a donkey!
Buridan/Geach: the reference of "A" must be fixed before the question is expressed! Regardless of whether the sentence containing "A" is true or false. Reference must be independent of the truth value.

Gea I
P.T. Geach
Logic Matters Oxford 1972

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-04-28