Abstract singular terms and thin reference

Duke, George 2012, Abstract singular terms and thin reference, Theoria : a Swedish journal of philosophy, vol. 78, no. 4, pp. 276-292.

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Title Abstract singular terms and thin reference
Author(s) Duke, George
Journal name Theoria : a Swedish journal of philosophy
Volume number 78
Issue number 4
Start page 276
End page 292
Total pages 17
Publisher Wiley - Blackwell Publishing
Place of publication West Sussex, England
Publication date 2012-12
ISSN 0040-5825
Keyword(s) reference
abstract objects
ontology
abstract singular terms
Summary The prevailing approach to the problem of the ontological status of mathematical entities such as numbers and sets is to ask in what sense it is legitimate to ascribe a reference to abstract singular terms; those expressions of our language which, taken at face value, denote abstract objects. On the basis of this approach, neo-Fregean Abstractionists such as Hale and Wright have argued that abstract singular terms may be taken to effect genuine reference towards objects, whereas nominalists such as Field have asserted that these apparent ontological commitments should not be taken at face value. In this article I argue for an intermediate position which upholds the legitimacy of ascribing a reference to abstract singular terms in an attenuated sense relative to the more robust ascription of reference applicable to names denoting concrete entities. In so doing I seek to clear up some confusions regarding the ramifications of such a thin notion of reference for ontological claims about mathematical objects.
Language eng
Field of Research 220313 Philosophy of Language
Socio Economic Objective 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30048415

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Created: Tue, 18 Sep 2012, 19:54:28 EST by George Duke

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