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Marcus, Kripke, and the origin of the new theory of reference


In this paper, presented at an APA colloquium in Boston on December 28, 1994, it is argued that Ruth Barcan Marcus' 1961 article on “Modalities and Intensional Languages” originated many of the key ideas of the New Theory of Reference that have often been attributed to Saul Kripke and others. For example, Marcus argued that names are directly referential and are not equivalent to contingent descriptions, that names are rigid designators, and that identity sentences with co-referring names are necessary if true. She also first presented the modal argument that names are directly referential, the epistemic argument that names are directly referential, and the argument that there area posteriori necessities.

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Smith, Q. Marcus, Kripke, and the origin of the new theory of reference. Synthese 104, 179–189 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01063869

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  • Contingent Description
  • Rigid Designator
  • Modal Argument
  • Identity Sentence
  • Epistemic Argument