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Profile: Heidi Savage (State University of New York at Geneseo)
  1. Heidi Savage, Against False Pretences.
    Any plausible account of the act of pretending, either by presupposition or constitution, involves an assumption that the facts are other than what they are. An examination of various accounts of pretence shows this to be the feature that distinguishes it from other actions such as imagining, fantasizing, creating, or hypothesizing. This discovery has implications for standard analyses of the nature of fiction. To wit, whatever is occurring when engaged in reading a work of fiction, it is not an act (...)
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  2. 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 (...)
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  3. Heidi Savage, It's Easy Being Free: Notes on Frankfurt's Conception of Free Will.
    On Frankfurt's view of free will, in its simplest form, an agent is free just in case her second-order volitions -- those second-order desires she wishes to be effective -- are in accord with her first-order volitions -- those first-order desires that one actually acts upon. That is, an agent has free will just in case she has the desires she wants to have and they are the desires she acts upon. But now consider an agent who lacks free will (...)
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  4. Heidi Savage, Kypris, Aphrodite, and Venus: Another Puzzle About Belief.
    My aim in this paper is to show that the existence of empty names raise problems for the Millian that go beyond the traditional problems of accounting for their meanings. Specifically, they have implications for Millian strategies for dealing with puzzles about belief. The standard move of positing a referent for a fictional name to avoid the problem of meaning, because of its distinctly Millian motivation, implies that solving puzzles about belief, when they involve empty names, do in fact hang (...)
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  5. Heidi Savage, Literal Truth and the Habits of Sherlock Holmes.
    Because names from fiction, names like ‘Sherlock Holmes’, fail to refer, and because it has been supposed that all simple predicative sentences including a sentence like ‘Sherlock Holmes smokes’ will be true if and only if the referent of the name has the property encoded by the predicate, many philosophers have denied that the sentence or an utterance of the sentence ‘Sherlock Holmes smokes’ could be true, or at least, it cannot be true taken at face value. Despite this, natural (...)
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  6. Heidi Savage, Naming and Referring.
    In this book, I survey three different puzzles with respect to proper names, two of which are historically well-known, another of which is more contemporary, and perhaps more controversial. I argue that accounting for these puzzles requires a semantic account of proper names alternative to those already offered. I propose and develop my own view of proper names, and devoting a full chapter to each of the three puzzles, demonstrate its explanatory power by showing how it elegantly solves each puzzle. (...)
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  7. Heidi Savage, On Being Called Names.
    A recent defence of analyzing names as predicates that relies on a calling relation to explain their meanings,an account developed by Fara, is claimed to escape the problems afflicting standard meta-linguistic analyses. For Fara, this is because the calling relation itself is not essentially meta-linguistic; there are attributive uses of the calling relation as well. Distinguishing between meta-linguistic and attributive notions of calling is supposed to disperse with the common objection to calling accounts, specifically, Kripke's objection that these kinds of (...)
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  8. Heidi Savage, On Diachronic, Synchronic, and Logical Necessity.
    According to EJ Lowe, diachronic necessity and synchronic necessity are logically independent. Diachronic possibility concerns what could happen to an object over time and therefore concerns future possibilities for that object given its past history. Synchronic possibility concerns what is possible for an object in the present or at a past present moment. These are logically independent, given certain assumptions. While it may true that because I am 38, it is impossible diachronically for me to be 30 (at least once (...)
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  9. Heidi Savage, On Slurring Women.
    Exploring the nature of slurs, and various treatments thereof, has consequences for feminist theory. In particular, if we adopt the idea that the word "woman" itself can count as a slur, and that slurs are composed, in part, of descriptive and evaluative content, then certain inferences about essentialism and the social construction of sex and/or gender categories warrant closer examination. Those who make claims about the social construction of these categories must attend to the semantics of slurs, since arguably such (...)
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  10. Heidi Savage, Performative Meta-Linguistic Actions.
    At least one of the issues surrounding proper names is how to understand the act of naming itself. Thus far, there has been little in the way of analysis of this phenomenon, save for using certain buzz words like "dubbing" or "christening" or "baptizing." Though, there have been some things written about the act itself, such as the causal theory, and the property attribution theory. I argue that those accounts fail. Fundamentally, an act of naming must in some way be (...)
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  11. Heidi Savage, (Public Address) No Means No: Feminist and Victim Understandings of Sexual Assault Awareness.
    While there are many different motivations for raising questions about the Sexual Assault Awareness Movement, at least one motivation comes from feminist controversies about what counts as consensual sex. Historically, this controversy arose between those known as "anti-pornography feminists", and "sex positive feminists" whose proponents had very different understandings of what counts as sexual autonomy for women. It is important to understand that questioning the current definitions of what counts as an instance of sexual assault does not entail an anti-feminist (...)
     
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  12. Heidi Savage, The Contingencies of Ontological Commitment.
    Some time ago, Quine once asserted that to be is to be value of a variable. This entails that if one wishes to accept any theory as true, we must be committed to the existence of those objects over which we existentially quantify. I suggest instead that we are committed to the existence only of those things that have at least some intrinsic contingent properties. Any discourse that involves existential quantification over entities whose instrinsic properties can change will, of necessity, (...)
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  13. Heidi Savage, The Deontic Voluntarism Argument Against Ethical Internalism.
    A parallel argument to the doxastic voluntarism argument -- the deontic voluntarism argument -- can be constructed against ethical internalism. This parallel argument begins with the idea that if ethical internalism is true, that is, if we cannot help but be motivated to do the right thing, then it would appear that our being moved to do the right thing is involuntary in the same was as our beliefs are involuntary. If correct, this leaves the ethical internalist with a dilemma, (...)
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  14. Heidi Savage, The Inevitability of Death: Going From an Is to an Ought.
    Since Hume, many ethicists have assumed that inferring normative claims from descriptive claims is fallacious. Some classic examples that illustrate this fact are those in which everyone commits some act, but we do not therefore conclude that it is the right thing to do. Everyone may jump off a bridge, asserts your mother, but that does not entail that you should. However, not all such claims illustrate this. In fact, some of them illustrate precisely the opposite claim. For example, consider (...)
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  15. Heidi Savage, The Problem with Meta-Linguistic Analyses of the Meanings of Proper Names.
    Some time ago, Kripke argued that meta-linguistic analyses of proper names were utterly uninformative. I suggest here that his objection relies on conflating the language used to talk about a particular language L -- the meta-language -- with direct speech reports made within a language -- the object language. Making this distinction leads to an understanding of meta-linguistic analyses of proper names that are not simply tautologous, so long as we do not understand the meta-linguistic analysis of, say, the expression (...)
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  16. Heidi Savage, Descriptive Names and Shifty Characters: A Context-Sensitive Account.
    Standard rigid designator accounts of a name’s meaning have trouble accommodating what I will call a descriptive name’s “shifty” character -- its tendency to shift its referent over time in response to a discovery that the conventional referent of that name does not satisfy the description with which that name was introduced. I offer a variant of Kripke’s historical semantic theory of how names function, a variant that can accommodate the character of descriptive names while maintaining rigidity for proper names. (...)
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  17. Heidi Savage, What Matters in Survival: Life Trajectories and the Possibility of Virtual Immersion.
    The immediate goal of this paper is to establish that one can both agree with Parfit that identity is not what matters in survival and yet still maintain that the concept of a persisting person requires singularity over time. That is, fission cannot preserve what matters in survival. This can be maintained once one recognizes an externalist constraint on preserving what matters. Specifically, I claim that what matters in the survival of persons is something Parfit might call the “quasi-continuation” of (...)
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  18. Robert M. Martin & Heidi Savage (1987). The Meaning of Language (Revision). MIT.
    Philosophy of language is one of the hardest areas for the beginning student; it is full of difficult questions technical arguments, and jargon. Written in a straightforward and explanatory way and filled with examples, this text provides a comprehensive introduction to the field, suitable for students with no background in the philosophy of language or formal logic.The eleven chapters in the book's first part take up a variety of matters connected to questions about what language is for - what meaning (...)
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