About this topic
Summary How can a name which is empty contribute to a sentence which is true or false? If it can contribute, what is its contribution? If it cannot so contribute, how can we explain away the judgement of apparently meaningful sentences containing empty names? In particular how can we account for the preponderance of apparently true negative existential claims?
Key works Russell 1905 argues that ordinary proper names should be treated as definite descriptions which should in turn be analysed away in context with quantifiers. One of Russell's arguements for this descriptivism is that it allows empty names to have a meaning. Kripke 1980 argues against descriptivist theories of names and is sympathetic to a Millian theory. This theme is continued by Kripke 2013 which argues that empty names do not provide a test case for theories of names and that traditional descriptivists do not solve the problem of negative existentials. A Millian solution to the problem of negative existentials is tentatively proposed. Whilst rejecting Millianism, Evans 1982 agrees with Kripke that (most) names depend on a referent to be meaningful. Evans 1982 argues forcefully against Kripke's approach to negative existentials and proposes his own solution. Evans' own solution is, however, subject to the same problems. Burge 1974 shows how one can systematically accommodate meaningful empty names in an ontologically perspicuous way. See also Sainsbury 2005.
Introductions Sainsbury 2009 is an introduction to empty names and related issues such as fictional characters, and truth in fiction.
  Show all references
Related categories
Siblings:
60 found
Search inside:
(import / add options)   Sort by:
1 — 50 / 60
  1. Fred Adams & Gary Fuller (2007). Empty Names and Pragmatic Implicatures. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37 (3):449-461.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (9 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  2. Fred Adams, Gary Fuller & Robert Stecker (1997). The Semantics of Fictional Names. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 78 (2):128–148.
    In this paper we defend a direct reference theory of names. We maintain that the meaning of a name is its bearer. In the case of vacuous names, there is no bearer and they have no meaning. We develop a unified theory of names such that one theory applies to names whether they occur within or outside fiction. Hence, we apply our theory to sentences containing names within fiction, sentences about fiction or sentences making comparisons across fictions. We then defend (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (8 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  3. Fred Adams & Robert Stecker (1994). Vacuous Singular Terms. Mind and Language 9 (4):387-401.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (4 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  4. Frederick Adams, Names That Name Nothing.
    This paper defends a direct reference view of empty names, saying that empty names literally have no meaning and cannot be used to express truths. However, all names, including empty names, are associated with accompanying descriptions that are implicated in pragmatically imparted truths. A sentence such as “Vulcan doesn’t exist” pragmatically imparts that there is no tenth planet. This view is defended against objections.
    Remove from this list |
    Translate to English
    | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  5. Kent Bach (1985/1986). Failed Reference and Feigned Reference. Grazer Philosophische Studien 25:359-374.
    Nothing can be said about a nonexistent object, but something can be said about the act of (unsuccessfully) attempting to refer to one or, as in fiction, of pretending to refer to one. Unsuccessful reference, whether by expressions or by speakers, can be explained straightforwardly within the context of the theory of speech acts and communication. As for fiction, there is nothing special semantically, as to either meaning or reference, about its language. And fictional discourse is just a distinctive use (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (4 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  6. Andrew Bacon (2013). Quantificational Logic and Empty Names. Philosophers' Imprint 13 (24).
    The result of combining classical quantificational logic with modal logic proves necessitism – the claim that necessarily everything is necessarily identical to something. This problem is reflected in the purely quantificational theory by theorems such as $\exists xt = x$; it is a theorem, for example, that something is identical to Timothy Williamson. The standard way to avoid these consequences is to weaken the theory of quantification to a certain kind of free logic. However, it has often been noted that (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  7. Hanoch Ben-Yami (2010). Could Sherlock Holmes Have Existed? Croatian Journal of Philosophy 10 (3):175-181.
    In Naming and Necessity Kripke argued against the possible existence of fictional characters. I show that his argument is invalid, analyze the confusion it involves, and explain why the view that fictional characters could not have existed is implausible.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (3 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  8. David Braun (2005). Empty Names, Fictional Names, Mythical Names. Noûs 39 (4):596–631.
    John Stuart Mill (1843) thought that proper names denote individuals and do not connote attributes. Contemporary Millians agree, in spirit. We hold that the semantic content of a proper name is simply its referent. We also think that the semantic content of a declarative sentence is a Russellian structured proposition whose constituents are the semantic contents of the sentence’s constituents. This proposition is what the sentence semantically expresses. Therefore, we think that sentences containing proper names semantically express singular propositions, which (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (9 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  9. David Braun (1993). Empty Names. Noûs 27 (4):449-469.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (4 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  10. Stuart Brock (2004). The Ubiquitous Problem of Empty Names. Journal of Philosophy 101 (6):277 - 298.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (3 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  11. Tyler Burge (1974). Truth and Singular Terms. Noûs 8 (4):309-325.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (4 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  12. Ben Caplan (2004). Creatures of Fiction, Myth, and Imagination. American Philosophical Quarterly 41 (4):331-337.
    In the nineteenth century, astronomers thought that a planet between Mercury and the Sun was causing perturbations in the orbit of Mercury, and they introduced ‘Vulcan’ as a name for such a planet. But they were wrong: there was, and is, no intra-Mercurial planet. Still, these astronomers went around saying things like (2) Vulcan is a planet between Mercury and the Sun. Some philosophers think that, when nineteenth-century astronomers were theorizing about an intra-Mercurial planet, they created a hypothetical planet.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (4 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  13. Ben Caplan (2002). Empty Names. Dissertation, UCLA
    In my dissertation (UCLA 2002), I argue that, by appropriating Fregean resources, Millians can solve the problems that empty names pose. As a result, the debate between Millians and Fregeans should be understood, not as a debate about whether there are senses, but rather as a debate about where there are senses.
    Remove from this list | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  14. Elena Casetta & Achille C. Varzi (2008). Nomi in crisi di identità. Rivista di Estetica 48 (38):143-156.
    An exchange of letters among proper names and natural-kind terms, dealing with various identity and individuation problems (rigid designation, use-mention ambiguities, translation) from their point of view.
    Remove from this list |
    Translate to English
    | Direct download (4 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  15. Andrew Cullison & Ben Caplan (2011). Descriptivism, Scope, and Apparently Empty Names. Philosophical Studies 156 (2):283-288.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (8 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  16. Rafael De Clercq (2006). Presentism and the Problem of Cross-Time Relations. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 72 (2):386-402.
    Presentism is the view that only present entities exist. Recently, several authors have asked the question whether presentism is able to account for cross-time relations, i.e., roughly, relations between entities existing at different times. In this paper I claim that this question is to be answered in the affirmative. To make this claim plausible, I consider four types of cross-time relation and show how each can be accommodated without difficulty within the metaphysical framework of presentism.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (7 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  17. Gareth Evans (1982). The Varieties of Reference. Oxford University Press.
    Covering the work of Frege, Russell, and more recent work on singular reference, this important book examines the concepts of perceptually-based demonstrative identification, thought about oneself, and recognition-based demonstrative identification.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (4 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  18. Anthony Everett (2003). Empty Names and `Gappy' Propositions. Philosophical Studies 116 (1):1-36.
    In recent years a number of authors sympathetic to Referentialistaccounts of proper names have argued that utterances containingempty names express `gappy,' or incomplete, propositions. In this paper I want to take issue with this suggestion.In particular, I argue versions of this approach developedby David Braun, Nathan Salmon, Ken Taylor, and by Fred Adams,Gary Fuller, and Robert Stecker.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (6 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  19. Stacie Friend (2011). The Great Beetle Debate: A Study in Imagining with Names. Philosophical Studies 153 (2):183-211.
    Statements about fictional characters, such as “Gregor Samsa has been changed into a beetle,” pose the problem of how we can say something true (or false) using empty names. I propose an original solution to this problem that construes such utterances as reports of the “prescriptions to imagine” generated by works of fiction. In particular, I argue that we should construe these utterances as specifying, not what we are supposed to imagine—the propositional object of the imagining—but how we are supposed (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (9 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  20. Stacie Friend (2007). Fictional Characters. Philosophy Compass 2 (2):141–156.
    If there are no fictional characters, how do we explain thought and discourse apparently about them? If there are, what are they like? A growing number of philosophers claim that fictional characters are abstract objects akin to novels or plots. They argue that postulating characters provides the most straightforward explanation of our literary practices as well as a uniform account of discourse and thought about fiction. Anti-realists counter that postulation is neither necessary nor straightforward, and that the invocation of pretense (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (9 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  21. Mitchell S. Green (2007). Direct Reference, Empty Names and Implicature. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37 (3):419-447.
    Angle Grinder Man removes wheel locks from cars in London.1 He is something of a folk hero, saving drivers from enormous parking and towing fi nes, and has succeeded thus far in eluding the authorities. In spite of his cape and lamé tights, he is no fi ction; he’s a real person. By contrast, Pegasus, Zeus and the like are fi ctions. None of them is real. In fact, not only is each of them different from the others, all differ (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (10 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  22. Mitchell S. Green (2007). Direct Reference Empty Names and Implicature. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37 (3):419-37.
    Angle Grinder Man removes wheel locks from cars in London.1 He is something of a folk hero, saving drivers from enormous parking and towing fi nes, and has succeeded thus far in eluding the authorities. In spite of his cape and lamé tights, he is no fi ction; he’s a real person. By contrast, Pegasus, Zeus and the like are fi ctions. None of them is real. In fact, not only is each of them different from the others, all differ (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (9 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  23. T. Hofweber & A. Everett (eds.) (2000). Empty Names, Fiction, and the Puzzles of Non-Existence. CSLI Publications.
    Remove from this list |
    Translate to English
    |
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  24. Božidar Kante (2006). Devitt on Empty Names. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 6 (1):51-62.
    The paper deals with the topic of empty terms as considered in chapter six of Devitt’s book Designation. Devitt’s proposal is that a statement about fiction is (usually) implicitly preceded by a fiction operator roughly paraphrasable by “it is pretended that” or “in fiction”. The causal chain that forms the network for a fictitious name are not d(esignational)-chains, for they are not grounded in an object. Nevertheless, although the fictitious name does not designate, we could say that it stands in (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (3 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  25. Saul A. Kripke (2013). Reference and Existence. The John Locke Lectures. Oxford University Press.
    Reference and Existence, Saul Kripke's John Locke Lectures for 1973, can be read as a sequel to his classic Naming and Necessity. It confronts important issues left open in that work -- among them, the semantics of proper names and natural kind terms as they occur in fiction and in myth; negative existential statements; the ontology of fiction and myth (whether it is true that fictional characters like Hamlet, or mythical kinds like bandersnatches, might have existed). In treating these questions, (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  26. Saul A. Kripke (2011). Vacuous Names and Fictional Entities. In , Philosophical Troubles. Collected Papers Vol I. Oxford University Press.
    Remove from this list |
    Translate to English
    | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  27. Franck Lihoreau (ed.) (2011). Truth in Fiction. Ontos Verlag.
    The essays collected in this volume are all concerned with the connection between fiction and truth. This question is of utmost importance to metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophical logic and epistemology, raising in each of these areas and at their intersections a large number of issues related to creation, existence, reference, identity, modality, belief, assertion, imagination, pretense, etc. All these topics and many more are addressed in this collection, which brings together original essays written from various points of view by (...)
    Remove from this list |
    Translate to English
    | Direct download (3 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  28. Teresa Marques & Manuel García-Carpintero, Nomes Vazios. Compêndio Em Linha de Problemas de Filosofia Analítica.
    Os nomes próprios são termos singulares que intuitivamente indicam os objectos do discurso ou pensamento. Alguns nomes falham na sua função de referir, sem que, aparentemente, deixem de desempenhar um papel representacional. Isso é paradoxal: Por um lado, os objectos referidos deveriam fazer parte de uma caracterização correcta dos nomes próprios. Por outro lado, o significado das frases que incorporam nomes vácuos sugere que tais objectos são extrínsecos aos pensamentos transmitidos. Isto é o problema que se levanta com a existência (...)
    Remove from this list |
    Translate to English
    | Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  29. Michele Marsonet (1997). The Problem of Empty Names. Idealistic Studies 27 (1/2):91-96.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (4 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  30. John McDowell (1982). Truth-Value Gaps. In L. J. Cohen (ed.), Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science VI: Proceedings of the Sixth International Congress of Logic, Methodology, and Philosophy of Science. North Holland Publishing Co.
    Remove from this list |
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  31. T. Parent, Conservative Meinongianism.
    This paper defends the Meinongian thesis that “there are objects of which it is true that there are no such objects,” re: fictitious and illusory objects. I first formulate the problem of negative existentials in a novel way, and discuss why this new version is more forceful against anti-Meinongians. Additional data is then raised to vex anti-Meinongians—e.g., the truth of ‘Pegasus is imaginary’, and a reading of ‘There actually are illusory objects’ where it comes out true. The Meinongian, in contrast, (...)
    Remove from this list |
    Translate to English
    | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  32. Gualtiero Piccinini & Sam Scott (2010). Recovering What Is Said With Empty Names. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (2):239-273.
    As our data will show, negative existential sentences containing socalled empty names evoke the same strong semantic intuitions in ordinary speakers and philosophers alike.Santa Claus does not exist.Superman does not exist.Clark Kent does not exist.Uttering the sentences in (1) seems to say something truth-evaluable, to say something true, and to say something different for each sentence. A semantic theory ought to explain these semantic intuitions.The intuitions elicited by (1) are in apparent conflict with the Millian view of proper names. According (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (9 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  33. Dolf Rami, Non‐Standard Neutral Free Logic, Empty Names and Negative Existentials.
    In this paper I am concerned with an analysis of negative existential sentences that contain proper names only by using negative or neutral free logic. I will compare different versions of neutral free logic with the standard system of negative free logic (Burge, Sainsbury) and aim to defend my version of neutral free logic that I have labeled non-standard neutral free logic.
    Remove from this list |
    Translate to English
    | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  34. Dolf Rami, Existence and Free Logic.
    In this paper I aim to defend a first‐order non‐discriminating property view concerning existence. The version of this view that I prefer is based on negative (or a specific neutral) free logic that treats the existence predicate as first‐order logical predicate. I will provide reasons why such a view is more plausible than a second‐order discriminating property view concerning existence and I will also discuss four challenges for the proposed view and provide solutions to them.
    Remove from this list |
    Translate to English
    | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  35. Marga Reimer (2007). Empty Names: Communicative Value Without Semantic Value. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (3):738-747.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (8 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  36. Marga Reimer (2001). A "Meinongian" Solution to a Millian Problem. American Philosophical Quarterly 38 (3):233 - 248.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (3 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  37. Marga Reimer (2001). The Problem of Empty Names. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (4):491 – 506.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  38. David-Hillel Ruben (1990). A Reply to Professor Haji on Posthumous Predication. Grazer Philosophische Studien 38:195-199.
    Remove from this list |
    Translate to English
    |
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  39. Bertrand Russell (1905). On Denoting. Mind 14 (56):479-493.
    By a `denoting phrase' I mean a phrase such as any one of the following: a man, some man, any man, every man, all men, the present King of England, the present King of France, the center of mass of the solar system at the first instant of the twentieth century, the revolution of the earth round the sun, the revolution of the sun round the earth. Thus a phrase is denoting solely in virtue of its form. We may distinguish (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (12 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  40. Mark Sainsbury (2005). Reference Without Referents. Clarendon Press.
    Reference is a central topic in philosophy of language, and has been the main focus of discussion about how language relates to the world. R. M. Sainsbury sets out a new approach to the concept, which promises to bring to an end some long-standing debates in semantic theory. Lucid and accessible, and written with a minimum of technicality, Sainsbury's book also includes a useful historical survey. It will be of interest to those working in logic, mind, and metaphysics as well (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  41. R. M. Sainsbury (2010). Intentionality Without Exotica. In Robin Jeshion (ed.), New Essays on Singular Thought.
    The paper argues that intensional phenomena can be explained without appealing to "exotic" entities: one that don't exist, are merely possible, or are essentially abstract.
    Remove from this list |
    Translate to English
    | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  42. R. M. Sainsbury (2009). Fiction and Fictionalism. Routledge.
    Introduction -- What is fiction? -- Realism about fictional objects -- Fictional objects are nonexistents -- Worlds and truth : fictional worlds, possible worlds, and impossible worlds -- Fictional entities are abstract artifacts -- Irrealism : fiction and intentionality -- Some fictionalists -- Fictionalism about possible worlds -- Moral fictionalism -- Retrospect.
    Remove from this list | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  43. R. M. Sainsbury (2008). Intensional Transitives and Presuppositions (Transitivos Intensionales y Presuposiciones). Critica 40 (120):129 - 139.
    My commentators point to respects in which the picture provided in Reference without Referents is incomplete. The picture provided no account of how sentences constructed from intensional verbs (like "John thought about Pegasus") can be true when one of the referring expressions fails to refer. And it gave an incomplete, and possibly misleading, account of how to understand certain serious uses of fictional names, as in "Anna Karenina is more intelligent than Emma Bovary" and "Anna Karenina does not exist". In (...)
    Remove from this list |
    Translate to English
    | Direct download (2 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  44. R. M. Sainsbury (2006). Facts and Free Logic. Protosociology 26:119–27.
    Comment on S. Neale's, "Facts and Free Logic".
    Remove from this list |
    Translate to English
    | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  45. R. M. Sainsbury (2006). Austerity and Openness. In Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (eds.), McDowell and his critics. Blackwell Pub.. 6--1.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (3 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  46. R. M. Sainsbury (1999). Names, Fictional Names, and 'Really': R.M. Sainsbury. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 73 (1):243–269.
    [R. M. Sainsbury] Evans argued that most ordinary proper names were Russellian: to suppose that they have no bearer is to suppose that they have no meaning. The first part of this paper addresses Evans's arguments, and finds them wanting. Evans also claimed that the logical form of some negative existential sentences involves 'really' (e.g. 'Hamlet didn't really exist'). One might be tempted by the view, even if one did not accept its Russellian motivation. However, I suggest that Evans gives (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (7 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  47. R. Mark Sainsbury (2000). Empty Names. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 2000:57-66.
    This paper explores the idea that a name should be associated with a reference condition, rather than with a referent, just as a sentence should be associated with a truth condition, rather than with a truth value. The suggestion, to be coherent, needs to be set in a freelogical framework (following Burge). A prominent advantage of the proposal is that it gives a straight-forward semantics for empty names. A problem discussed in this paper is that of reconciling the rigidity of (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (3 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  48. Fiora Salis (2013). Fictional Names and the Problem of Intersubjective Identification. Dialectica 67 (3):283-301.
    The problem of intersubjective identification arises from the difficulties of explaining how our thoughts and discourse about fictional characters can be directed towards the same (or different) characters given the assumption that there are no fictional entities. In this paper I aim to offer a solution in terms of participation in a practice of thinking and talking about the same thing, which is inspired by Sainsbury's name-using practices. I will critically discuss a similar idea that was put forward by Friend (...)
    Remove from this list | Direct download (5 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  49. Fiora Salis (2010). Fictional Reports. Theoria 25 (2):175-185.
    Against standard descriptivist and referentialist semantics for fictional reports, I will defend a view according to which fictional names do not refer yet they can be distinguished from one another by virtue of their different name-using practices. The logical structures of sentences containing fictional names inherit these distinctions. Different interpretations follow.
    Remove from this list | Direct download (3 more)  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
  50. Heidi Savage, Four Problems with Empty Names.
    Empty names vary in their referential features. Some of them, as Kripke argues, are necessarily empty -- those that are used to create works of fiction. Others appear to be contingently empty -- those which fail to refer at this world, but which do uniquely identify particular objects in other possible worlds. I argue against Kripke's metaphysical and semantic reasons for thinking that either some or all empty names are necessarily non-referring, because these reasons are either not the right reasons (...)
    Remove from this list |
    Translate to English
    | Direct download  
     
    My bibliography  
     
    Export citation  
1 — 50 / 60