How can the human mind think about objects outside itself? How is it possible to talk about things that don’t even exist? This week, we’re thinking about reference—specifically, an “opinionated” theory of reference by our dear departed friend, longtime Philosophy Talk host Ken Taylor.
What Is It
On December 2, 2019, Ken Taylor announced that he finally had “an almost complete draft” of a book he had been writing for years. “I think I'll pour a glass of wine to mark the occasion, before plunging back into the work that is still to be done,” he wrote. Tragically and unexpectedly, he died later that same day. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of some colleagues, his book, Referring to the World: An Opinionated Introduction to the Theory of Reference, has just been published. In this special episode, Josh and Ray discuss Ken’s ideas about reference with USC philosopher Robin Jeshion, who helped bring the book to fruition.