Terms and Truth

Terms and Truth

Reference Direct and Anaphoric

By Alan Berger

A Bradford Book





In this book, Alan Berger further develops the new theory of reference—as formulated by Kripke and Putnam—applying it in novel ways to many philosophical problems concerning reference and existence. Berger argues that his notion of anaphoric background condition and anaphoric links within a linguistic community are crucial not only to a theory of reference, but to the analysis of these problems as well.

The book is organized in three parts. In part I, Berger distinguishes between two styles of rigid designation. Based on this distinction, he develops a theory of reference change for rigid designator terms and shows how this distinction sheds light on identity statements. In part II, he offers an account of belief attribution containing vacuous names within the belief context, of intentional identity statements, and of true negative existential statements. In part III, he analyzes anaphoric expressions (i.e., expressions whose reference is determined in part by other clauses or sentences in a given discourse) and presents a formalization of anaphora and plural quantification.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262025195 251 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


$25.00 X ISBN: 9780262524377 251 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


  • Not just another book on consciousness! This one is about various kinds of unity (and a few disunities) in phenomenal experience. Provocative claims are defended, and the presentation is lucid and engaging throughout. I especially recommend Tye's chapter on the specious present.

    William G. Lycan

    William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor of Philosophy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • A major work. Berger offers an elegant examination of issues that have been in controversy for the last forty years and that have been and are being discussed by the best philosophers of language. But where others have tended to offer piecemeal solutions, Berger offers a unified account based on a small set of principles.

    Gilbert Harman

    Department of Philosophy, Princeton University

  • Terms and Truth makes novel and valuable contributions to the theory of reference.

    William G. Lycan

    William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor of Philosophy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Terms and Truth is a fascinating work that provides a penetrating analysis of a range of important topics. In particular, Berger offers an original, plausible, and powerful theory of the semantics of anaphoric terms, and his discussion includes far and away the best explication I know of the importance of such terms in language and thought.

    George M. Wilson

    Department of Philosophy, University of California at Davis

  • Berger examines the theory of direct reference (i.e, the account of reference associated with my The Meaning of Meaning and with Kripke's Naming and Necessity). His examination leads at once to a fundamental recasting of the theory: he examines both the epistemological underpinnings of the theory (which he sees as presupposing a special way of attending to objects, which he calls 'focussing') and its formal semantics. He makes a convincing case that the semantics of the theory of direct reference requires an account of anaphora, and he provides the first formal semantic theory of anaphora that I have seen anywhere. Finally, he shows the power of the theory by applying it to a particular case in the philosophy of physics (the semantics of the term 'mass' in Newtonian physics). The book is enriched at every point with beautiful points of detail which, however, never distract attention from the main line of argument, which is very clear.

    Hilary Putnam

    Cogan University Professor Emeritus, Harvard University

  • Alan Berger is a philosopher distinguished by both acuteness and sound basic intuitions. This book ranges from basic concepts in the theory of reference to specific issues such as intentional attitudes toward the nonexistent to highly technical problems in formal semantics. It is important reading for philosophers of language.

    Saul Kripke

    author of Naming and Necessity

  • I know of no other book in recent years which can serve, as this book can, at once as a comprehensive survey of one of the most important debates in contemporary metaphysics and a genuinely important contribution to that debate.

    Hilary Putnam

    Cogan University Professor Emeritus, Harvard University