ⓘ Meaning, philosophy of language ..

Causal theory of reference

A causal theory of reference is a theory of how terms acquire specific referents based on evidence. Such theories have been used to describe many referring terms, particularly logical terms, proper names, and natural kind terms. In the case of names, for example, a causal theory of reference typically involves the following claims: a names referent is fixed by an original act of naming, whereupon the name becomes a rigid designator of that object. later uses of the name succeed in referring to the referent by being linked to that original act via a causal chain. Weaker versions of the posi ...

Connotation

A connotation is a commonly understood cultural or emotional association that some word or phrase carries, in addition to its explicit or literal meaning, which is its denotation. A connotation is frequently described as either positive or negative, with regard to its pleasing or displeasing emotional connection. For example, a stubborn person may be described as being either strong-willed or pig-headed ; although these have the same literal meaning stubborn, strong-willed connotes admiration for the level of someones will a positive connotation, while pig-headed connotes frustration in de ...

Deflationary theory of truth

In philosophy and logic, a deflationary theory of truth is one of a family of theories that all have in common the claim that assertions of predicate truth of a statement do not attribute a property called "truth" to such a statement.

Descriptivist theory of names

In the philosophy of language, the descriptivist theory of proper names is the view that the meaning or semantic content of a proper name is identical to the descriptions associated with it by speakers, while their referents are determined to be the objects that satisfy these descriptions. Bertrand Russell and Gottlob Frege have both been associated with the descriptivist theory, which is sometimes called the Frege–Russell view. In the 1970s, this theory came under attack from causal theorists such as Saul Kripke, Hilary Putnam and others. However, it has seen something of a revival in rec ...

Direct reference theory

A direct reference theory is a theory of language that claims that the meaning of a word or expression lies in what it points out in the world. The object denoted by a word is called its referent. Criticisms of this position are often associated with Ludwig Wittgenstein. In the 19th century, mathematician and philosopher Gottlob Frege argued against it, and contrasted it with mediated reference theory. In 1953, with his Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein argued against referentialism, famously saying that "the meaning of a word is its use." Direct reference theory is a position typ ...

Internal–external distinction

The internal–external distinction is a distinction used in philosophy to divide an ontology into two parts: an internal part consisting of a linguistic framework and observations related to that framework, and an external part concerning practical questions about the utility of that framework. This division was introduced by Rudolf Carnap in his work "Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology". It was subsequently criticized at length by Willard Van Orman Quine in a number of works, and was considered for some time to have been discredited. However, recently a number of authors have come to the ...

Mediated reference theory

A mediated reference theory is any semantic theory that posits that words refer to something in the external world, but insists that there is more to the meaning of a name than simply the object to which it refers. It thus stands opposed to the theory of direct reference. Gottlob Frege is a well-known advocate of mediated reference theories. Similar theories were widely held in the middle of the twentieth century by philosophers such as Peter Strawson and John Searle. Mediated reference theories are contrasted with theories of direct reference. Saul Kripke, a proponent of direct reference ...

Ontology

Ontology is the philosophical study of being. More broadly, it studies concepts that directly relate to being, in particular becoming, existence, reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations. Traditionally listed as a part of the major branch of philosophy known as metaphysics, ontology often deals with questions concerning what entities exist or may be said to exist and how such entities may be grouped, related within a hierarchy, and subdivided according to similarities and differences.