25 Feb 2009

Vergauwen, A Metalogical Theory of Reference, Introduction, §1

by Corry Shores
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Roger Vergauwen

A Metalogical Theory of Reference: Realism and Essentialism in Semantics

Introduction: the Temperature of a Hot Topic

§1 The Parallel Problems of Meaning & Reference, and Language & Reality

Central to the philosophy of logic and to the philosophy of language is the following distinction:
1) meaning, and
2) the reference function.

The debate goes back as far as the Ancient Greeks. In Plato's Cratylus, Socrates wonders whether we should learn things by learning about how they are represented or by learning about how the things themselves are in actuality.

So in fact we also wonder about the relation between language and reality.

The problem of meaning and reference is concerned with the differences between various language functions.

The problem of language and reality is concerned with epistemological issues regarding the nature of language's correspondence with the world.

Vergauwen, Roger. A Metalogical Theory of Reference: Realism and Essentialism in Semantics. London: University Press of America, 1993.

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