We would like to thank Elizabeth Harman, Jonathan Weinberg, and Wayne Wu for helpful comments on previous drafts.
Against Arguments from Reference*
Article first published online: 10 SEP 2009
© 2009 Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, LLC
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
Volume 79, Issue 2, pages 332–356, September 2009
How to Cite
MALLON, R., MACHERY, E., NICHOLS, S. and STICH, S. (2009), Against Arguments from Reference. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 79: 332–356. doi: 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2009.00281.x
- Issue published online: 10 SEP 2009
- Article first published online: 10 SEP 2009
It is common in various quarters of philosophy to derive philosophically significant conclusions from theories of reference. In this paper, we argue that philosophers should give up on such ‘arguments from reference.’ Intuitions play a central role in establishing theories of reference, and recent cross-cultural work suggests that intuitions about reference vary across cultures and between individuals within a culture (Machery et al. 2004). We argue that accommodating this variation within a theory of reference undermines arguments from reference.