Attention, reference, and inscrutability


  • Ignacio Ávila Cañamares Universidad Nacional de Colombia


Quine, Campbell, inscrutability of reference, relational theory of attention


In this paper I discuss John Campbell’s criticism of the Quinean thesis of the inscrutability of reference. First I claim that Campbell’s arguments miss the point because he overlooks the link Quine draws between reference, quantification, and ontology. Then I discuss another line of thought against inscrutability that appeals to Campbell’s relational view on attention. Finally, I suggest that this line –though insufficient and in need of a complement– brings out the fact that behind the views held by these authors on the topic of reference there are important philosophical ideals which should be discussed.

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Author Biography

Ignacio Ávila Cañamares, Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Grupo de Investigación Relativismo y racionalidad, Departamento de Filosofía, 
Universidad Nacional de Colombia


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How to Cite

Ávila Cañamares, I. (2014). Attention, reference, and inscrutability. Estudios De Filosofía, (50), 31–51. Retrieved from



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