‘Pencil’, ‘Water’, ‘Christianity’: Digging into Externalist Semantic Theories

Title‘Pencil’, ‘Water’, ‘Christianity’: Digging into Externalist Semantic Theories
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsOlivero, Irene
Secondary TitleUniversa. Recensioni di filosofia
Date Published06/2021
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISBN Number9788869382499
ISSN Number2240-4902

‘Pencil’, ‘Tiger’, ‘Christianity’. What kind of reference (if any) do these terms have? Do they have the same semantics? In his celebrated The Meaning of ‘Meaning’ (1975), Hilary Putnam suggests so when arguing that they have externalist semantics. However, this claim is highly controversial. A lengthy discussion has been going on the matter. So far, neither Putnam’s nor other defenses of Externalism proposed within this debate have actually succeeded in showing that the terms at stake (and their likes) are semantically on a par. Here I examine further options left to the externalist. I conclude that, still, none is a viable alternative for defending that Externalism applies to the mentioned terms (and their likes).