Our aim in this paper is defend AR. In particular, we argue that AR can be used to provide an account of instantial reasoning (one that is better than the prominent alternatives), and we suggest that AR can also figure in offering new solutions to a range of difficult philosophical puzzles.
Arbitrary Reference (AR): It is possible to fix the reference of an expression arbitrarily. When we do so, the expression receives its ordinary kind of semantic-value, though we do not and cannot know which value in particular it receives.
KeywordsReference Arbitrary Arbitrary reference Arbitrary objects Instantial reasoning Universal generalisation Existential instantiation Natural deduction Vagueness Indiscernible Structuralism Random Indefinite
We are grateful to audiences at Cornell University, CSMN Oslo, Macquarie University, and the University of Oxford, as well as to Ross Cameron, John Hawthorne, Stephen Kearns, Jeff King, Vann McGee, Moritz Schulz, Stewart Shapiro, Nick Smith, and Robbie Williams for helpful discussions.
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