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A referencer is an entity that is in a reference relation with (it denotes) some referent.



  • (Wikipedia, 2013) ⇒ Retrieved:2013-12-15.
    • Reference is a relation between objects in which one object designates, or acts as a means by which to connect to or link to, another object. The first object in this relation is said to refer to the second object. The second object – the one to which the first object refers – is called the referent of the first object.

      The term reference is used in many spheres of human knowledge, adopting shades of meaning particular to the contexts in which it is used.

      References can take on many forms, including: a thought, a sensory perception that is audible (onomatopoeia), visual (text), olfactory, or tactile, emotional state, relationship with other, [1] spacetime coordinate, symbolic or alpha-numeric, a physical object or an energy projection; but, other concrete and abstract contexts exist as methods of defining references within the scope of the various fields that require an origin, point of departure, or an original form. This includes methods that intentionally hide the reference from some observers, as in cryptography.

      The following sections give specific usages of reference in different subjects.

  1. Treanor, Brian, Aspects of alterity: Levinas, Marcel, and the contemporary debate, Fordham University Press, 2006, p.41


    • Reference is a relation that obtains between expressions and what speakers use expressions to talk about. When I assert ‘George W. Bush is Republican’, I use the proper name ‘George W. Bush’ to refer to a particular individual, an individual about whom I go on to speak. Although it questionable whether all words refer, there are several types of words (including proper names) which are arguably of the referring sort. These will be discussed below. The central question concerning reference is: How do words refer? What, in other words, is the “mechanism” of reference? Subsidiary questions concern the relation between reference and meaning and reference and truth. Some philosophers have thought that the nature of reference is able to shed light on important metaphysical or epistemological issues. Other philosophers are not so sanguine. Indeed, some philosophers deny that reference is a substantive relation deserving of philosophical scrutiny.


    • Noun
      • 1. (semantics) A relation between objects in which one object designates, or acts as a means by which to connect to or link to, another object.
      • ...
      • 5. (programming) An object containing information which refers to data stored elsewhere, as opposed to containing the data itself.


  • K Bach. (2004). “Points of Reference.” In: Bezuidenhout & Reimer (eds.) 2004.
    • Russell (1905) made a compelling case that descriptions, definite as well as indefinite, are devices of quantification, not referring phrases. Strawson (1950) and Donnellan (1966) pointed out that definite descriptions can be used to refer. And even indefinite descriptions can be used to refer. All this is old hat. If 'On Denoting', 'On Referring', and 'Reference and Definite Descriptions' had not provoked decades of debate, philosophers might have just thought it obvious that the mere fact that an expression can be used to refer does not show that it is inherently a referring expression, an expression that itself refers. After all, there is an obvious need for a distinction between linguistic meaning and speaker's meaning, and the distinction between linguistic reference and speaker's reference is just a special case of that (Kripke 1977, 263). Invoking this distinction does not, of course, tell us which sorts of expressions are inherently referring expressions and which are merely capable of being used to refer, but it is enough to suggest that a special reason is needed to support the claim that descriptions, which obviously can be used in nonreferring ways and which have the syntactic earmarks of quantifier phrases, nevertheless have referential readings.


  • M Devitt. (2004). “The Case for Referential Descriptions.” In: Bezuidenhout and Reimer (eds.) (2004). [Preprint available online]
    • QUOTE: Definite descriptions (`definites') typically have the form, `the F', but may also have forms like `his F' (equivalent to `the F of him'). Indefinite descriptions (`indefinites') have the form, `a/an F'. According to Russell's theory of descriptions (1905), `the F is G' is equivalent to `there is something that is alone in being an F and it is G'; and `an F is G' is equivalent to `there is something that is an F and it is G'. So descriptions are to be understood in terms of quantifiers and the nominal `F'.

      Under the influence particularly of Keith Donnellan (1966. 1968), many now think that definites are `ambiguous', having not only the `attributive' meaning captured by Russell1 but also a `referential' meaning like that of a name or demonstrative. Under the influence particularly of Charles Chastain (1975),2 some now think the same of indefinites.


  • (Brandim, 1994) ⇒ R Brandom. (1994). “Making it Explicit. Harvard University Press.


  • (Fodor, 1990) ⇒ J. Fodor. (1990). “A Theory of Content and other Essays.” MIT Press.




  • (Kripke, 1979) ⇒ Saul A Kripke. (1979). “Speaker's Reference and Semantic Reference.” In: P. A. French, T. E. Uehling, Jr., and H. K. Wettstein (eds), Contemporary Perspectives in the Philosophy of Language. University of Minnesota Press, 6-27.


  • (Kripke, 1972) ⇒ Saul A Kripke. (1972). “Naming and Necessity.” In: "Semantics of Natural Language.” edited by D. Davidson and G. Harman. Dordrecht.
  • (Donnellan, 1972) ⇒ Keith S Donnellan. (1972). “Proper Names and Identifying Descriptions.” In: D. Davidson and G. Harman (eds) The Semantics of Natural Language, Dordrecht: Reidel.


  • (Putnam, 1975) ⇒ Hilary Putnam. (1975). “Mind, Language, and Reality" In: Philosophical Papers, 2. Cambridge University Press.


  • (Donnellan, 1966) ⇒ Keith S Donnellan. (1966). “Reference and Definite Descriptions.” In: Philosophical Review, 75.


  • (Quine, 1961) ⇒ W. V. O. Quine. (1961). “From a Logical Point of View.” MIT Press.


  • (Quine, 1960) ⇒ W. V. O. Quine. (1960). “Word and Object.” MIT Press.




  • (Russell, 1917) ⇒ Bertrand Russell. (1917) Knowledge by Acquaintance and Knowledge by Description.” In: Mysticism and Logic.


  • (Russell, 1905) ⇒ Bertrand Russell. (1905). “On Denoting.” In: Mind 14: 479-93.
    • In the preceding chapter we saw that there are two sorts of knowledge: knowledge of things, and knowledge of truths. In this chapter we shall be concerned exclusively with knowledge of things, of which in turn we shall have to distinguish two kinds. Knowledge of things, when it is of the kind we call knowledge by acquaintance, is essentially simpler than any knowledge of truths, and logically independent of knowledge of truths, though it would be rash to assume that human beings ever, in fact, have acquaintance with things without at the same time knowing some truth about them. Knowledge of things by description, on the contrary, always involves, as we shall find in the course of the present chapter, some knowledge of truths as its source and ground. But first of all we must make dear what we mean by 'acquaintance' and what we mean by 'description'.


  • (Frege, 1892) ⇒ Gottlob Frege. (1892). “On Sense and Reference.” In: Zeitschrift für Philosophie und philosophische Kritik, C: 25-50.