Direct Reference and Singular Propositions

American Philosophical Quarterly 37 (3):285 - 300 (2000)
Abstract
Most direct reference theorists about indexicals and proper names have adopted the thesis that singular propositions about physical objects are composed of physical objects and properties (and/or relations—I will use "properties" for brevity's sake).1 There have been a number of recent proponents of such a view, including Scott Soames, Nathan Salmon, John Perry, Howard Wettstein, and David Kaplan.2 Since Kaplan is the individual who (at least recently) is best known for holding such a view, let's call a proposition that is composed of objects and properties a K-proposition. In this paper, I will attempt to show that (given some fairly plausible assumptions) a direct reference view about the content of proper names and indexicals leads very naturally to the position that all singular propositions about physical objects are K-propositions.3 Then, I will attempt to show that this view of propositions is false. I will spend the bulk of the paper on this latter task. My goal in the paper, then, is to show that adopting the direct reference thesis comes at a cost (or for those who thought it already came at a cost because of (alleged) problems the view has with problems such as opacity and the significance of some identity statements; it comes at even more of a cost).
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Citations of this work BETA
Patrick Toner (2006). Contingently Existing Propositions? Philosophical Studies 129 (3):421 - 434.
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