David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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teaching material (1998)
A traditional argument is often used against Mill's theory of names (the meaning of a name is exhausted by its referent). Mill's theory implies transparency of proper names (coreferring proper names are substitutable salva veritate); but examples like Frege's and Quine's show that proper names are not transparent in belief contexts. This could be thought to be a reductio ad absurdum of Mill's theory. In " A puzzle about Belief" (1979; 1988) Kripke builds up an argument which aims to show that the same problems, given by the principle of transparency of proper names, can also be generated without the use of that principle, but with some weaker and more general principles, which seem to be difficult to reject. (see Donellan) Therefore, the traditional argument against Mill's theory does not work. If you want to reject Mill's theory with some reductio ad absurdum, you should reject two very intuitive and apparently valid principles. The well known puzzle is based on the assumption that our speaker is normal non omniscient, sincere, reflective and not conceptually confused. The two principles used are the Disquotational Principle (DP) and the Translation Principle (TP).
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