Lauener Foundation for Analytical Philosophy
Thursday 22 June - Friday 23 June 2006
2nd International Lauener Symposium on Analytical Philosophy
in honour of Professor Dagfinn Føllesdal
Professor Dagfinn Føllesdal
Reference - neither Causal nor Apostolic, but Normative
A fundamental point of the "New theory of reference" is that names and many other singular terms signal that one intends to keep on referring to the same object whenever one uses the term. One popular view on how this happens is the causal theory of reference, proposed by Evans and others, where the tie between name and object is supposed to be causal. A second view is what I call the "apostolic view" due to Peter Geach's comparison with the apostolic succession of popes when he proposed this view in 1969. This view has become particularly well known through the work of Kripke.
In this paper I will criticize these views and propose a third view, which I call "the normative view on reference." The main point of this view is that when one uses names etc. one signals that one will do one's best to keep track of the reference, but that one does not always succeed, and that massive failure may lead to a reference shift. I will discuss the means one uses to keep track of the reference and what kind of failures lead to reference shifts.