Bencivenga, Ermanno. 1980. "Again on Existence as a Predicate." Philosophical Studies no. 37:125-138.
———. 1980. "Truth, Correspondence, and Non-Denoting Singular Terms." Philosophia no. 9:219-230.
"The correspondence theory of truth provides standard semantics with a simple scheme for evaluating sentences. this scheme however depends on the existence of basic correspondences
between singular terms and objects, and thus breaks down in the case of non-denoting singular terms. an alternative to the correspondence theory is thus called for in dealing with such terms. the
author criticizes various positions discussed in the literature in this regard, and then presents a solution of his own."
———. 1983. "Free Logics." In Handbook of Philosophical Logic. Vol. 3: Alternatives to Classical Logic, edited by Gabbay, Dov and Guenthner, Franz, 373-426. Dordrecht:
———. 1986. Logic, Bivalence and Denotation. Berkeley: University of California Press.
With Karel Lambert and Bas C. van Fraassen
———. 1997. A Theory of Language and Mind. Berkeley: University of California Press.
"In this book, Bencivenga offers a stylistically and conceptually exciting investigation of the nature of language, mind, and personhood and the many ways the three connect.
Bencivenga contests the basic assumptions of analytic (and also, to an extent, postmodern) approaches to these topics. His exploration leads through fascinating discussions of education, courage,
pain, time and history, selfhood, subjectivity and objectivity, reality, facts, the empirical, power and transgression, silence, privacy and publicity, and play -- all themes that are shown to be
integral to our thinking about language."
———. 2002. "Putting Language First: The 'Liberation' of Logic from Ontology." In A Companion to Philosophical Logic, edited by Jacquette, Dale, 293-304. Malden:
"There are two ways of conceiving the relation between language and the world: they differ by making opposite choices about which of them is to be assigned priority, and which is to
be dependent on the other. The priority and dependence in question here are conceptual, not causal: at the causal level everyone agrees that certain portions of the nonlinguistic world (intelligent
entities, say) must be in place before meaningful expressions come to pass, so what we are concerned with is how the notion of meaningful is to be understood - whether 'meaningful' is
defined as something that means some portion of the world or rather as something that belongs to a self-sufficient structure of analogies and oppositions. For example, taking for granted
that there would be no meaningful expression 'John' unless some intelligent entity came up with it, is 'John' a meaningful expression because there is a John that it means or rather
because it is a certified component of the English language, categorized as a name and clearly distinct from 'Paul' - though somewhat analogous to 'Jack'? If you go the first route, I will
say that you are a realist at the conceptual (or transcendental) level; if you go the second one, I will call you a conceptual (or transcendental) idealist. 'Realist' is a
transparent term, since 'res' is `thing,' 'object,' in Latin and clearly this kind of realist puts things (conceptually) first, considers them basic in her logical space; 'idealist' is more
controversial, since the 'idea' in it recalls a psychologistic jargon that is not as popular today as it once was, so one might think that some other root, more clearly expressive of the semantical,
logico/linguistic character of the current analysis, should be preferred. And yet, once we are clear about its implications, 'idealist' remains a better choice because it lets us see the connections
of this contemporary debate with other, classical ones; later I will explore some such connections. Before I do that, however, I have to explain what the contemporary debate looks like.
My example of a meaningful expression above was not chosen at random: in the case of names there is more agreement than with any other part of speech concerning what they
mean. 'John' means a (male) human being, 'Lassie' means a dog, 'the Queen Mary' means a ship, and in general a name that means anything means an object - or, as People say, denotes it or
refers to it (the terminology is highly unstable: 'reference' and 'denotation' are used as translations of the Fregean 'Bedeutung,' but 'meaning' is also used for the same purpose,
consistently with Frege's own suggestion, and indeed it is the most natural English counterpart of this perfectly ordinary German word). There are complications here, since names may be ambiguous and
the objects meant may be past or future as well as present ones, but none of that touches the essence of names' favored condition: what kind or category the meaning of a name
belongs to is hardly ever an issue, much less so than, say, with predicates or connectives. Probably because of this (and of the great importance that concrete, middle-sized objects like human
beings. dogs. and ships have in our form of life), it is around names that the realism/ idealism controversy has surfaced in the clearest form within contemporary logic. And free logics have
been its most conspicuous outcome." pp. 293-294.