Referring to the World: Ken's Final Work

Sunday, July 25, 2021

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.

Comments (2)


Harold G. Neuman's picture

Harold G. Neuman

Sunday, June 13, 2021 -- 1:57 PM

Not what I thought was coming

Not what I thought was coming. Must have misunderstood. Probably. Did his work not encompass norms, and so on? Is that what is meant by a theory of reference? Normativity and reference, while not mutually exclisive, do not seem inclusive, contrariwise. In any case, I will read the book if time and opportunity permit.

Tim Smith's picture

Tim Smith

Monday, June 14, 2021 -- 6:49 AM

I read Meaning Diminished (MD

I read Meaning Diminished (MD) and will try, as well, to get this one done in time to feedback thoughtfully. Not sure I will get there. The world is starting again in ways that dictate my time whether I refer to it or not.

If I read MD correctly Ken did not hold much hope for determining metaphysics from semantics. This fits well with the recent shows on the Vienna Circle, the diminishing returns of logical empiricism and Montaigne. What do I know is transmuted to the world. Languages are inherently and comparatively different in action and interest in Ken's perspective. This minimal view doesn’t go far enough in my understanding, but I don’t have to measure too much distance. Referring to the World is Ken’s biased measure if the intro and first chapter are on target. Let me read it and see if there is anything more to say. I’m just sorry not to hear him defend it in role of guest between Josh and Ray.

There is a world. There is a brain. Just what the two can say or do to the other is a bit up for grabs. I hope this book will shed some light. Ken had his moments in PT productions where he drew the lines between the arguments. It’s nice to have these two final works where he is in the hot seat.