more from Thomas Reid

Single Idea 23646

[catalogued under 19. Language / B. Reference / 1. Reference theories]

Full Idea

An individual is expressed by a proper name, or by a general word joined to distinguishing circumstances; if unknown, it may be pointed out to the senses; when beyond the reach of the senses it may be picked out by an imperfect but true description.

Gist of Idea

Reference is by name, or a term-plus-circumstance, or ostensively, or by description


Thomas Reid (Essays on Intellectual Powers 4: Conception [1785], 1)

Book Reference

Reid,Thomas: 'Inquiry and Essays', ed/tr. Beanblossom /K.Lehrer [Hackett 1983], p.225

A Reaction

[compressed] If Putnam, Kripke and Donnellan had read this paragraph they could have save themselves a lot of work! I take reference to be the activity of speakers and writers, and these are the main tools of the trade.