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This article investigates the idea that meanings of proper names are their references which is popular in the philosophy of language. The aim is to show, first, that there is no satisfactory answer to the question “How references as stable relations between words and objects appear, due to accomplishment of what conditions these properties of linguistic expressions may be produced?”, and, second, that we can still use the notion of reference in our explanations of some effects of communication if we treat reference as pragmatic rather than semantic phenomenon. The actuality of this research is provided by the fact that the identification of meanings of certain types of terms, proper names first of all, with their references is still very influential account in the philosophy of language. The author uses the methods of historical exposition and philosophical analysis of the main theories of reference, such as theory of descriptions and causal theory of reference. It is shown that these theories in their different modifications fail to explain how references as semantic relations between proper names and their bearers may be produced in the course of communication and social interaction. But although there are alternative concepts of the nature meanings of proper names it is concluded that we still may apply the notion of reference in our explanations of natural language communication if we treat reference as pragmatic effect caused by mutual coordination of actions achieved by the participants of certain communicative situation.

About the authors

A Z Cherniak

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)

- Miklukho-Maklaya Str., 6 Moscow, Russian Federation 117198


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