Reference and Existence

Reference and Existence : The John Locke Lectures

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Saul Kripke's Locke Lectures were delivered in Oxford in 1973. Delivered in Kripke's usual extemporaneous style, for years the lectures have only been available as a transcription that has been informally exchanged among philosophers. This volume, which publishes the lectures in book form for the first time, follows up on some of the themes on language that Kripke started to explore in his most famous work, Naming and Necessity. The first topic that Kripke
examines is the relationship of naming to existence, in particular the problem of names that are empty i.e. which refer to non-existent objects such as fictional entities. The second major topic (or pair of topics) is that of speaker's reference and semantic reference.
The lectures are full of philosophically rich ideas that have already been influential, and which will continue to intrigue and engage philosophers in book form.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 184 pages
  • 148 x 216 x 19mm | 314g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 019992838X
  • 9780199928385
  • 407,382

Table of contents

Preface ; Lecture I: October 30th, 1973 ; Lecture II: November 6th, 1973 ; Lecture III: November 13, 1973 ; Lecture IV: November 20th, 1973 ; Lecture V: November 27th, 1973 ; Lecture VI: December 4th, 1973 ; References ; Index
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Review quote

For one thing, Reference and Existence includes many long, substantive footnotes (obviously composed very recently) that demonstrate that in his [Kripke's] seventies he is capable of philosophical thinking of the same high order that made him famous when he was a young man ... I cannot possibly convey, within the scope of this review, the subtlety, richness and beautiful logical coherence of Kripke's treatment of the ontology of fiction. It is a good thing
that these superb lectures have finally been published * Peter Van Inwagen, The Times Literary Suppliment * In the introduction to the book, Kripke modestly worries whether publication of this material 'would still be of some interest' (p. ix). 'Of course', this reviewer concludes. And this reviewer stresses further that publication finally allows an extremely important body of work to take its rightful place in the published canon of analytic philosophy. * Jody Azzouni, Mind * I will simply say that this is a book that you must read if you want to know where Kripke's thinking took him when he took the revolutionary views he developed in Naming and Necessity and confronted the problem of empty names and nonexistence. Along the way you will also learn an important part of the reason why the debate about empty names has taken the direction it has over the last forty or so years and why it continues to occupy centre stage in the philosophy of
language. * The Philosophical Quarterly * Reference and Existence shall be an influential work in various contemporary debates and discussions since it contains countless dilemnas, questions, proposals and innovative ideas regarding the relation between reference and existence, fictional characters and discourse, negative existentials, semantical and speaker's reference, indirect discourse and modal notions. * Adam Tamas Tuboly, Buchbesprechungen. *
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About Saul A. Kripke

Saul A. Kripke is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Computer Science at CUNY Graduate Center, and Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Princeton University. Author NAMING AND NECESSITY (1980), WITTGENSTEIN ON RULES AND PRIVATE LANGUAGE (1982), PHILOSOPHICAL TROUBLES (OUP 2011)
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59 ratings
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