Faculty Book: Saul Kripke
Reference and Existence: The John Locke Lectures
(Oxford University Press, 2013)
This collection of Kripke’s John Locke Lectures for 1973 can be read as a sequel to his classic Naming and Necessity. It confronts important issues left open in that work, such as the semantics of proper names and natural kind terms (terms denoting object groupings that occur in nature) as they appear in fiction and in myth; negative existential statements; and the ontology of fiction and myth (whether it is true that fictional characters like Hamlet or mythical kinds like bandersnatches have an existence). In treating these questions, he makes a number of methodological observations that go beyond the framework of his earlier book—including the striking claim that fiction cannot provide a test for theories of reference and naming. In addition, these lectures provide a glimpse into the transition to the pragmatics of singular reference that dominated his influential paper “Speaker’s Reference and Semantic Reference”—a paper that helped reorient linguistic and philosophical semantics. Saul Kripke is a distinguished professor of philosophy at the Graduate Center.
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Submitted on: APR 24, 2013