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Putnam’s View on Reference Change Is Different from That of Kripke’s

Organon F, 2016, vol. 23, No 3, pp. 367-383.
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A usual objection put forward against the causal theory of reference is that it cannot explain the reference changes that terms may undergo. The main aim of this paper is to examine the position on reference change of one of the classic supporters of the causal theory, Hilary Putnam. It is usually claimed that Putnam’s causal theory of reference of natural kind terms is closely related to Kripke’s theory and can be conceived as a development of the same. The motivation of this paper is to allege that there is at least one important difference between both theories, consisting of their explanation of reference changes or at least in the way in which those theories make reference changes possible. After dealing with the problem of reference change within the framework of Kripke’s theory and reconstructing Kripke’s proposal to account for it, we will allege that there are components of Putnam’s theory which make reference changes possible, although they are different from those present in Kripke’s theory.

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