The tao of metaphysics: the epidemiology of names

Abstract
We present a uni!ed diagnosis of three well"known puzzles about proper names, based on a new view of the metaphysics of words and proper names in particular adumbrated by David Kaplan in #Words$. Exploring the analogy of words and viruses, we sketch an account of words as entia suc! cessiva, highlighting the crucial phenomenon of linguistic coordination. Understanding the famous puzzles as coordination failures, we think, brings to the fore important issues in the metaphysical foundations of direct reference. Words, it turns out, can themselves play some of the roles modes of presentation have been called up for
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