Representation and Reality


Essay Questions



DUE September 17, 2004 (Friday), 5pm.
WORDS 2000    (2500 for Graduate students)




Answer ONE of the following questions. Use 10-point type and single-space your essay.

Leave 1” margins. Make sure you explain the problem being discussed well first before proceeding to analyze and evaluate solutions offered.

Use your own examples where appropriate to demonstrate your understanding of the issues.

When you have completed your essay, attach a completed School Coversheet and deposit in the slot outside E306, Forgan Smith on or before the due date.

Students seeking extensions on medical or related grounds must do so prior to the due date.

A penalty of 1 grade per day may be imposed for late papers without an extension.






Amongst the puzzles that are supposed to be fatal to Mill’s theory of language is the problem of reference to fictional objects. Describe the problem. Does Mill’s theory have the resources for a response to this challenge? How do you think Mill might have answered it?




Frege argued that in order to understand how identity statements could be meaningful, a distinction between sense and reference was required. Why did Frege think this was the case? What do you think Frege meant by sense, and is the thing he meant a plausible conception?





Strawson thought that Russell’s treatment of reference was misguided and proposed a quite different approach. Describe the two contrasting approaches and evaluate the relevant arguments in this controversy.

(You will need to study Strawson’s ‘On Referring’ and Russell’s ‘Mr. Strawson on Referring’. Copies of both will be made available in the High Use section of the library.)



Explain Kripke’s notion of direct reference. What are Kripke’s reasons for supposing that there is any such thing, and do you find them convincing?



                   Marked essays will be returned in the lecture on October 5.