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Reference and ExistenceThe John Locke Lectures$
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Saul A. Kripke

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199928385

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199928385.001.0001

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December 4, 1973

December 4, 1973

(p.133) Lecture VI December 4, 1973
Reference and Existence

Saul A. Kripke

Oxford University Press

This lecture addresses further challenges to Russell’s quantificational analysis of definite and indefinite descriptions. A speaker asserts ‘A man fell over the edge.’ He is corrected: ‘He didn’t fall; he jumped.’ If we suppose, against Russell, that the indefinite is semantically referential, then the correction makes sense: the response contradicts the initial assertion. But on Russell’s analysis, the assertions are consistent. The problem is resolved by noting that the pronoun ‘he’ can pick up the speaker’s referent in the initial sentence. Here, there is no semantic referent, as the indefinite is a quantifier. Still, its semantic role does not preclude its being used referentially. The pronoun thus functions neither as a variable bound by the indefinite nor as an implicit quantifier, but as a referring expression, deriving its reference from that of the antecedent quantifier. Potential objections to the analysis of fictional discourse developed in previous chapters are also discussed.

Keywords:   anaphora, existence, indefinite description, metalinguistic analysis, negative existential, pronominalization

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