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A mediated reference theory is any semantic theory that posits that words refer to something in the external world, but insists that there is more to the meaning of a name than simply the object to which it refers. It thus stands opposed to the theory of direct reference. Gottlob Frege and Bertrand Russell are well-known advocates of mediated reference theories. Similar theories were widely held in the middle of the twentieth century by philosophers such as Peter Strawson and John Searle.

Mediated reference theories are contrasted with theories of direct reference

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