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Publication - Dr Mark Pinder

    The explication defence of arguments from reference


    Pinder, MJ, 2017, ‘The explication defence of arguments from reference’. Erkenntnis, vol 82., pp. 1253-1276


    In a number of influential papers, Machery, Mallon, Nichols and Stich have presented a powerful critique of so-called arguments from reference, arguments that assume that a particular theory of reference is correct in order to establish a substantive conclusion. The critique is that, due to cross-cultural variation in semantic intuitions supposedly undermining the standard methodology for theorising about reference, the assumption that a theory of reference is correct is unjustified. I argue that the many extant responses to Machery et al.’s critique do little for the proponent of an argument from reference, as they do not show how to justify the problematic assumption. I then argue that it can in principle be justified by an appeal to Carnapian explication. I show how to apply the explication defence to arguments from reference given by Andreasen (for the biological reality of race) and by Churchland (against the existence of beliefs and desires).

    Full details in the University publications repository