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 for thinking that a name necessarily must fail to refer, or they are too broad -- they make every empty name necessarily non-referential. Plausibly, the explanation for the necessary non-reference of fictional names should be semantic, yet the explanation should not rule out a priori the contingent non-reference of certain other empty names. In light of this, I argue that a name's semantic value needs to carry information about its referential potential. I claim that names do so by encoding information about the way they were introduced into discourse. Names that are fictional will be marked as being non-referential -- they will fail to refer as a matter of their semantics. In contrast, names that are contingently empty will be marked as referential, but they will be failed referential names that could have been successful. The reason, then, for the non-referential status of a fictional name, will be semantic, as our intuitions suggest it should be. Likewise, the reason for the non-referential status of other empty names, those created by acts of failed attempts to refer, will be metaphysical, again, in keeping with our intuitions. (shrink)
Tyler Burge convinced us that names are predicates in at least some of their occurrences: -/- There are relatively few Alfreds in Princeton. -/- Names, when predicates, satisfy the being-called condition: schematically, a name "N" is true of a thing just in case that thing is called N. This paper defends the unified view that names are predicates in all of their occurrences. I follow Clarence Sloat, Paul Elbourne, and Ora Matushansky in saying that when a name (...) seems to occur bare in an argument position of a predicate, it is really occurring in the predicate position of a definite description with an unpronounced "the". I call these "denuded definite descriptions". There are good linguistic reasons for defending the denuded-definites view. For example, it explains why "the" cannot be dropped in a sentence like the following: -/- The ever-popular Bill will be speaking this afternoon; The taller Maria is downstairs. -/- The definite article occuring before a name doesn't get pronounced when it's right next to the name. In technical terms, it gets smushed together with it. But the smushing can't happen when another phrase intervenes. The view survives philosophical objections. Denuded definite descriptions with names are incomplete definite descriptions since most names have mutliple bearers. Incomplete definite descriptions are in general rigid, though. So the view survives Kripke's modal argument. (shrink)
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. A descriptive name’s shiftiness calls for a semantic account of names that makes their semantic values bipartite, containing both traditional semantic contents and what I call "modes of introduction." Both parts of a name's semantic value are derived from the way a name gets introduced into discourse -- from what I refer to as its "context of introduction." Making a name's semantic value bipartite in this way allows for a definite description to be a part of proper name's meaning without thereby sacrificing that name’s status as a rigid designator. On my view, a definite description is part of descriptive name’s mode of introduction. That is, it is part of what determines the content assigned to that name. As it turns out, making a definite description part of a descriptive name’s mode of introduction allows for that definite description to play the role of a mere reference-fixer regarding that name’s content, as Kripke would have it. However, my account allows a definite description to fix a descriptive name’s content actively over time, thereby explaining its inherent shiftiness. (shrink)
Fictional names present unique challenges for semantic theories of proper names, challenges strong enough to warrant an account of names different from the standard treatment. The theory developed in this paper is motivated by a puzzle that depends on four assumptions: our intuitive assessment of the truth values of certain sentences, the most straightforward treatment of their syntactic structure, semantic compositionality, and metaphysical scruples strong enough to rule out fictional entities, at least. It is shown that these (...) four assumptions, taken together, are inconsistent with referentialism, the common view that names are uniformly associated with ordinary individuals as their semantic value. Instead, the view presented here interprets names as context-sensitive expressions, associated in a context of utterance with a particular act of introduction, or dubbing, which is then used to determine their semantic value. Some dubbings are referential, which associate names with ordinary individuals as their semantic values; others are fictional, which associate names, instead, with sets of properties. Since the semantic values of names can be of different sorts, the semantic rule interpreting predication must be complex as well. In the body of the paper, I show how this new treatment of names allows us to solve our original puzzle. I defend the complexity of the semantic predication rule, and address additional worries about ontological commitment. (shrink)
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.
This paper reviews the role of sortals in the syntax and semantics of proper names and the related question of a mass-count distinction among proper names. The paper argues that sortals play a significant role with proper names and that that role matches individuating or ‘sortal’ classifiers in languages lacking a mass-count distinction. Proper names do not themselves classify as count, but may classify as mass or rather number-neutral. This also holds for other expressions or uses (...) of expressions that lack a syntactic mass-count distinction, namely that-clauses, predicative phrases, intensional NPs, quotations, as well as verbs with respect to their event arguments. In all those cases, the relevant diagnostics show a number-neutral status, rather than a division into mass and count. This is remarkable because it means that count status is independent of the nature of the semantic values of an expression or its conceptual content. It also means that even languages such as English or German are classifier languages when it comes to expressions or uses of expressions to which a syntactic mass-count distinction is inapplicable. (shrink)
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. Distinguishing between meta-linguistic and non-meta-linguistic notions of calling is supposed to disperse with the common objection to calling accounts, specifically, Kripke's objection that these kinds of accounts cannot be informative. To fully address Kripke's (...) worry, two things must hold (a) the theory must yield a criterion that allows us to determine a name's reference, and (b) it must be non-circular. I argue that Fara's theory satisfies neither of these criteria. (shrink)
The result of combining classical quantifi cational 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 Ext = 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 quantifi cation to a certain kind of free logic. However it has often been noted (...) that in order to specify the truth conditions of certain sentences involving constants or variables that don't denote one has to apparently quantify over things that are not identical to anything. In this paper I defend a contingentist, non-Meinongian metaphysics within a positive free logic. I argue that although certain names and free variables do not actually denote anything they might have actually done so, allowing one to interpret the contingentist claims without quantifying over mere possibilia. (shrink)
A widely accepted thesis in the philosophy of language is that natural language proper names are rigid designators, and that they are so de jure, or as a matter of the “semantic rules of the language.” This paper questions this claim, arguing that rigidity cannot be plausibly construed as a property of name types and that the alternative, rigidity construed as a property of tokens, means that they cannot be considered rigid de jure; rigidity in this case must be (...) viewed as a pragmatic and not a semantic property. (shrink)
There is a fairly general consensus that names are Millian (or Russellian) genuine terms, that is, are singular terms whose sole semantic function is to introduce a referent into the propositions expressed by sentences containing the term. This answers the question as to what sort of proposition is expressed by use of sentences containing names. But there is a second serious semantic problem about proper names, that of how the referents of proper names are determined. This (...) is the question that I will discuss in this paper. Various views consistent with Millianism have been proposed as to how the semantic referents of proper names are determined. These views can be classified into (1) description theories and (2) causal theories, but they can also be classified into (3) social practice theories, on which a name’s referent is determined by a social practice involving the referent, and (4) individualistic theories, on which the referent of the use of a name is determined by the speaker’s state of mind. Here I argue against social practice theories of the sorts proposed by Kripke and Evans and in favor of an individualistic approach to name reference. I argue that social practice is irrelevant to determining name reference and that, as a consequence, names have no meanings in natural languages. In the second part of the paper I motivate and propose a new form of individualistic theory which incorporates features of both description theories and Evans’s social practice theory. (shrink)
While proper names in argument positions have received a lot of attention, this cannot be said about proper names in the naming construction, as in “Call me Al”. I argue that in a number of more or less familiar languages the syntax of naming constructions is such that proper names there have to be analyzed as predicates, whose content mentions the name itself (cf. “quotation theories”). If proper names can enter syntax as predicates, then in argument (...) positions they should have a complex structure, consisting of a determiner and its restriction, like common nouns (cf. “definite description theories of proper names”). Further consideration of the compositional semantics of proper names in the naming construction also shows that they have another argument slot, that of the naming convention. As a result, we will be able to account for the indexicality of proper names in argument positions and provide compositional semantics of complex and modified proper names (e.g., the famous detective Sherlock Holmes ). (shrink)
This essay offers a detailed philosophical criticism of Frege’s popular thesis that identity is a relation of names. I consider Frege’s position as articulated both in ‘On Sense and Reference’, and in the Grundgesetze, where he appears to take an objectual view of identity, arguing that in both cases Frege is clearly committed to the proposition that identity is a relation holding between names, on the grounds that two different things can never be identical. A counterexample to Frege’s (...) thesis is considered, and a positive thesis is developed according to which, in contradistinction to the Fregean position, identity is a reflexive, symmetric, and transitive relation holding only between a thing and itself which can be expressed as a relation between names. (shrink)
This article explores Gareth Evans’s idea that there are such things as descriptive names, i.e. referring expressions introduced by a definite description which have, unlike ordinary names, a descriptive content. Several ignored semantic and modal aspects of this idea are spelled out, including a hitherto little explored notion of rigidity, super-rigidity. The claim that descriptive names are (rigidified) descriptions, or abbreviations thereof, is rejected. It is then shown that Evans’s theory leads to certain puzzles concerning the referential (...) status of descriptive names and the evaluation of identity statements containing them. A tentative solution to these puzzles is suggested, which centres on the treatment of definite descriptions as referring expressions. (shrink)
Direct reference theorists tell us that proper names have no semantic value other than their bearers, and that the connection between name and bearer is unmediated by descriptions or descriptive information. And yet, these theorists also acknowledge that we produce our name-containing utterances with descriptions on our minds. After arguing that direct reference proponents have failed to give descriptions their due, I show that appeal to speaker-associated descriptions is required if the direct reference portrayal of speakers wielding and referring (...) with public names is to succeed. (shrink)
I provide a novel semantic analysis of proper names and indexicals, combining insights from the competing traditions of referentialism, championed by Kripke and Kaplan, and descriptivism, introduced by Frege and Russell, and more recently resurrected by Geurts and Elbourne, among others. From the referentialist tradition, I borrow the proof that names and indexicals are not synonymous to any definite description but pick their referent from the context directly. From the descriptivist tradition, I take the observation that names, (...) and to some extent indexicals, have uses that are best understood by analogy with anaphora and definite descriptions, that is, following Geurts, in terms of presupposition projection. The hybrid analysis that I propose is couched in Layered Discourse Representation Theory. Proper names and indexicals trigger presuppositions in a dedicated layer, which is semantically interpreted as providing a contextual anchor for the interpretation of the other layers. For the proper resolution of DRSs with layered presuppositions, I add two constraints to van der Sandt's algorithm. The resulting proposal accounts for both the classic philosophical examples and the new linguistic data, preserving a unified account of the preferred rigid interpretation of both names and indexicals, while leaving room for non-referential readings under contextual pressure. (shrink)
In the contemporary debate about the nature of persistence, stage theory is the view that ordinary objects (artefacts, animals, persons, etc.) are instantaneous and persist by being suitably related to other instantaneous objects. In this paper I focus on the issue of what stage theorists should say about the semantics of ordinary proper names, like ‘Socrates’ or ‘London’. I consider the remarks that stage theorists actually make about this issue, present some problems they face, and finally offer what I (...) take to be the best alternative available for them. (shrink)
I defend what I believe to be a new variation on Kripkean themes, for the purpose of providing an improved way to understand the referring functions of proper names. I begin by discussing roles played by perceptual perspectives in the use of proper names, and then broaden the discussion to include what I call cognitive perspectives. Although both types of perspectives underwrite the existence of intentional intermediaries between proper names and their referents, the existence of these intentional (...) intermediaries does not entail that a Kripke-inspired view of direct reference must be abandoned. At the same time, the existence of these intermediaries can be seen to play illuminating roles as regards the referring functions of proper names in the following types of cases, among others: (a) where different names pick out the same subject; (b) where names are empty. Along the way, I argue that perspectival views are not something inside the head of language users as intended by Putnam in his well-known discussion of meaning. (shrink)
Kripke’s most important arguments in Naming and Necessity against the description theory of reference of proper names are the arguments from ignorance and error concerning names of historical figures. The aim of this paper is to put forward a reply to these arguments. The answer to them is grounded on the development of one component of the version of the description theory proposed by the authors that are regarded as the classical contemporary advocates of this theory, namely Searle (...) and Strawson; one of the targets of Kripke’s arguments is precisely the version of the description theory of reference submitted by these authors. The development of that component results in a sort of description theory of reference not affected by Kripke’s arguments from ignorance and error concerning the names of historical figures, deferential descriptivism. (shrink)
I propose that an adequate name for a proposition will be (1) rigid, in Kripke’s sense of referring to the same thing in every world in which it exists, and (2) transparent, which means that it would be possible, if one knows the name, to know which object the name refers. I then argue that the Standard Way of naming propositions—prefixing the word ‘that’ to a declarative sentence—does not allow for transparent names of every proposition, and that no alternative (...) naming convention does better. I explore the implications of this failure for deflationism about truth, arguing that any theory that requires the T biconditional to be a priori cannot succeed. (shrink)
This work will focus on some aspects of descriptive names. The New Theory of Reference, in line with Kripke, takes descriptive names to be proper names. I will argue in this paper that descriptive names and certain theory in reference to them, even when it disagrees with the New Theory of Reference, can shed light on our understanding of (some) non-existence statements. I define the concept of descriptive name for hypothesised object (DNHO). My thesis being that (...) DNHOs are, as I will specify, descriptions: a proposition expressed by the utterance ‘n is F’, where ‘n’ is a DNHO, is not singular at all; it is a descriptive proposition. To sum up, concerning proper names, the truth lies closer to the New Theory of Reference, but descriptivism is not altogether false. As for DNHOs descriptivism is, in some cases, the right fit. (shrink)
Saul Kripke’s thesis that ordinary proper names are rigid designators is supported by widely shared intuitions about the occurrence of names in ordinary modal contexts. By those intuitions names are scopeless with respect to the modal expressions. That is, sentences in a pair like (a) Aristotle might have been fond of dogs, (b) Concerning Aristotle, it is true that he might have been fond of dogs will have the same truth value. The same does not in general (...) hold for definite descriptions. If one, like Kripke, accounts for this difference by means of the intensions of the names and the descriptions, the conclusion is that names do not in general have the same intension as any normal, identifying description. However, this difference can be accounted for alternatively by appeal to the semantics of the modal expressions. On the account we suggest, dubbed ‘relational modality’, simple singular terms, like proper names, contribute to modal contexts simply by their actual world reference, not by their descriptive content. That account turns out to be fully equivalent with the rigidity account when it comes to truth of modal and non-modal sentence (with respect to the actual world), and hence supports the same basic intuitions. Here we present the relational modality account and compare it with others, in particular Kripke’s own. (shrink)
Evans envisaged a language containing both Russellian and descriptive names. A language with descriptive names, which can contribute to truth conditions even if they have no bearer, needs a free logical truth theory. But a metalanguage with this logic threatens to emasculate Russellian names. The paper details this problem and shows, on Evans's behalf, how it might be resolved.
A calculus of names is a logical theory describing relations between names. By a pure calculus of names we mean a quantifier-free formulation of such a theory, based on classical propositional calculus. An axiomatisation of a pure calculus of names is presented and its completeness is discussed. It is shown that the axiomatisation is complete in three different ways: with respect to a set theoretical model, with respect to Leśniewski's Ontology and in a sense defined with (...) the use of axiomatic rejection. The independence of axioms is proved. A decision procedure based on syntactic transformations and models defined in the domain of only two members is defined. (shrink)
Here, I defend the view that fictional narratives are illusionary and that fictional names are to be accounted metalinguistically, a blend of Walton’s and Donnellan’s theories. Besides, I offer a remedial semantic for sentences external to the story which connects those uses back to the text of the story and to the neighborhood of its retellings.
The aim of this paper is to present a reconstruction of Olivi's account of signification of common names and to highlight certain intrusion of pragmatics into this account. The paper deals with the question of how certain facts, other than original imposition, may be relevant to determine the semantical content of an utterance, and not with the question of how we perform actions by means of utterances. The intrusion of pragmatics into Olivi's semantics we intend to point out may (...) seem minimal today, but was of a certain importance at his time. Even if the conventional codes still play a role in his explanation of how words acquire a semantical content, both the intention of the speaker and the communication context in which this intention is being effectuated are essential features of the actual signification of names. (shrink)
By pure calculus of names we mean a quantifier-free theory, based on the classical propositional calculus, which defines predicates known from Aristotle’s syllogistic and Leśniewski’s Ontology. For a large fragment of the theory decision procedures, defined by a combination of simple syntactic operations and models in two-membered domains, can be used. We compare the system which employs `ε’ as the only specific term with the system enriched with functors of Syllogistic. In the former, we do not need an empty (...) name in the model, so we are able to construct a 3-valued matrix, while for the latter, for which an empty name is necessary, the respective matrices are 4-valued. (shrink)
The examination of names and words constitutes an important aspect of the philosophy of Zhuangzi. With the debate over the relationship between name and reality as its background, this examination not only involves the connection between form and meaning, but also targets at the connection between concepts and objects. The debate over the relationship between name and reality correlates with the discussion of the connection between words and meanings or ideas. For Zhuangzi, the function of names and words (...) is first and foremost embodied as the classification and distinction of being, while the Dao, as the universal principle of being, is characterized by equality and throughness. This leads to an inherent disparity and tension between names, words and the Dao. Zhuangziâs thinking and argument concern the connections between name and reality, words and ideas, and the Dao and words. This displays multiple theoretical perspectives and the complexity of its thought. (shrink)
The examination of names and words constitutes an important aspect of the philosophy of Zhuangzi. With the debate over the relationship between name and reality as its background, this examination not only involves the connection between form and meaning, but also targets at the connection between concepts and objects. The debate over the relationship between name and reality correlates with the discussion of the connection between words and meanings or ideas. For Zhuangzi, the function of names and words (...) is first and foremost embodied as the classification and distinction of being, while the Dao, as the universal principle of being, is characterized by equality and throughness. This leads to an inherent disparity and tension between names, words and the Dao. Zhuangzi's thinking and argument concern the connections between name and reality, words and ideas, and the Dao and words. This displays multiple theoretical perspectives and the complexity of its thought. /// 对名与言的考察，构成了《庄子》哲学的重要方面。以名实之辩为背景，名与 育的考察既捞及语言形式与涵义的关系，也指向概念与对象的关系。与名实之辩相 关的是言意之辩，后者所指向的是言与意的关系。同时，对《庄子》而言，名言的 作用首先表现为对存在的 "分" 和 "别", 而 "道" 作为存在的普遍原理，则以 "齐" 与 "通" 为内在品格，后者使道与名言呈现内在的距离和张力。对名与实、言与意、 道与言等关系的辨析，既展示了《庄子》的多重理论视域，又表现了其思想的复杂性。. (shrink)
In 1931–1934 Kazimierz Ajdukiewicz formulated two versions of the theory of meaning (A1 and A2). Tarski showed that A2 allows synonymous names to exist with different denotations. Tarski and Ajdukiewicz found that this feature disparages the theory. The force of Tarski’s argument rests on the assumption that none of adequate theories of meaning allow synonymous names to exist with different denotations. In the first part of this paper we present an appropriate fragment of A2 and Tarski’s argument. In (...) the second part we consider an elementary interpreted language in which individual constants occur, but not functional symbols. For such a language we define semantically a relation of synonymity for simple names and show that it fulfills syntactical conditions formulated by Ajdukiewicz in A2 and allows synonymous names to exist with different denotations. (shrink)
Chemical elements are the bricks with which Chemistry is build. Their names had a history, but part of it is forgotten or barely known. In this article the forgotten, no more used, never used, and alternatively used names and symbols of the elements are reviewed, bringing to us some surprises and deeper knowledge about the richness of Chemistry. It should be stressed that chemical elements are important not only for chemists but for all people dealing with science. As (...) in any other aspect of our lives, we tend to better understand something by knowing his history. By knowing them we can have a deeply understanding of how science evolves and how it is influenced by our human aspects. (shrink)
This paper is a counter to the view that names are always predicates with the same extension as a metalinguistic predicate with the form “is a thing called “N”” (the Predicate View). The Predicate View is in opposition to the Referential View of names. In this paper, I undermine one argument for the Predicate View. The Predicate View’s adherents take examples of uses of names that have the surface appearance of a predicate and generalise from these to (...) treat uses of names that do not have the surface appearance of a predicate. They show that the Predicate View can provide a unified account of these two uses and assume that the Referential account cannot. I propose an alternative view of names, the Polysemy View. This view allows one to resist the pressure to generalise from the cases with the surface appearance of predicates to all uses of names while nevertheless providing connections between the uses. On the Polysemy View names are not, in their core use, metalinguistic predicates. Names are predominantly referring expressions but they also freelance as metalinguistic predicates on occasion. They have a double life. This double life is possible because of the pragmatic and conventional connections between the two aspects of that life. My main aim in this paper is to show that the Predicate View is not the only view that can give a good account of apparently predicative uses of names. In addition, I offer some inconclusive reasons to prefer the Polysemy View over the Predicate View. My paper assumes a background framework that the Predicate and Referentialist Views share and I do not attempt to justify that framework. I ignore many other views of names (notably descriptivist views and relevance theoretic views) in order to focus on the debate between these two opponents. (shrink)
Since Kripke introduced rigid designation as an alternative to the Frege/Russell analysis of referential terms as definite descriptions, there has been an ongoing debate between 'descriptivists' and 'referentialists', mostly focusing on the semantics of proper names. Nowadays descriptivists can draw on a much richer set of linguistic data (including bound and accommodated proper names in discourse) as well as new semantic machinery (E-type syntax/semantics, DRT, presupposition-as-anaphora) to strengthen their case. After reviewing the current state of the debate, I (...) argue for a referentialist semantics that incorporates some modern insights from the side of the descriptivists in order to account for the new data in a principled fashion. (shrink)
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 (...) in terms of participation in what Perry calls a notion-network. I will then argue in favor of Sainsbury's baptism-based approach against Perry's information-based approach and I will answer some recent objections that Friend put forward against the former. (shrink)
This study offers a comprehensive new interpretation of one of Plato's most enigmatic and controversial dialogues, the Cratylus , showing it to present a complex and unified argument for a positive conclusion. Throughout, the book combines analysis of Plato's arguments with attentiveness to his philosophical method, including its "dramatic" or "literary" features; in particular, Socrates' extended etymological discourse, long an interpretive puzzle, is explained in terms of the various Platonic genres to which it belongs.
Does the English demonstrative pronoun 'that' (including complex demonstratives of the form 'that F') have sense and reference? Unlike many other philosophers of language, Frege answers with a resounding 'No'. He held that the bearer of sense and reference is a so-called 'hybrid proper name' (Künne) that contains the demonstrative pronoun and specific circumstances of utterance such as glances and acts of pointing. In this paper I provide arguments for the thesis that demonstratives are hybrid proper names. After outlining (...) why Frege held the hybrid proper name view, I will defend it against recent criticism, and argue that it is superior to views that take demonstrative pronouns to be the bearer of semantic properties. (shrink)
The aim of this study was to reflect on the origins and meanings of names describing investment practices that integrate a consideration of environmental, social and corporate governance issues in the academic literature. A review of 190 academic papers spanning the period from 1975 to mid-2009 was conducted. This exploratory study evaluated the associations and disassociations of the primary name assigned to this genre of investment with variables grouped into five domains, namely Primary Ethical Position, Investment Strategy, Publication Date, (...) Regions Covered and Periodical Type. The study indicated that papers coded as expressing a deontological ethical position were more frequently associated with the name Ethical Investment , whereas those with an ambiguous ethical position were less frequently associated with Ethical Investment . Three investment strategies (positive screening, best-in-class and cause-based investing) were unusually associated with the primary name Responsible Investment . A strong preference for the name Ethical Investment was noted in the United Kingdom, and contrasted starkly with an apparent aversion for this name in the United States. The name Ethical Investment is significantly more frequently used in journals dealing with ethics, business ethics and philosophy than in finance, economic and investment journals. Finally, the study yielded some weak hints that the name Responsible Investment might perhaps be linked to an egoist ethical position. On the basis of this, and because these have already been substantively linked through the Principles for Responsible Investment in the popular discourse, we follow the heuristic tradition set by Sparkes (Business Ethics Eur Rev 10:194–201, 2001 ), and propose that Responsible Investment be defined as ‘Investment practices that integrate a consideration of ESG issues with the primary purpose of delivering higher-risk-adjusted financial returns’. (shrink)
The notion of signification is an important part of Hobbes's philosophy of language. It also has broader relevance, as Hobbes argues that key terms used by his opponents are insignificant. However Hobbes's talk about names' signification is puzzling, as he appears to have advocated conflicting views. This paper argues that Hobbes endorsed two different views of names' signification in two different contexts. When stating his theoretical views about signification, Hobbes claimed that names signify ideas. Elsewhere he talked (...) as if words signified the things they named. Seeing this does not just resolve a puzzle about Hobbes's statements about signification. It also helps us to understand how Hobbes's arguments about insignificant speech work. With one important exception, they depend on the view that names signify things, not on Hobbes's stated theory that words signify ideas. The paper concludes by discussing whether arguments about insignificant speech can provide independent support for Hobbes's views about other issues, such as materialism. (shrink)
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 are propositions having individuals as constituents. For instance, the sentence ‘George W. Bush is human’ semantically expresses a proposition that has Bush himself as a constituent. Call this theory Millianism. Many philosophers initially find Millianism quite appealing, but find it much less so after considering its many apparent problems. Among these problems are those raised by non-referring names, which are sometimes (tendentiously) called empty names. Plausible examples of empty names include certain names from fiction, such as ‘Sherlock Holmes’, which I shall call fictional names, and certain names from myth and false scientific theory, such as ‘Pegasus’ and ‘Vulcan’, which I shall call mythical names. I have defended Millianism from objections concerning empty names in previous work (Braun 1993). In this paper, I shall re-present those objections, along with some new ones. I shall then describe my previous Millian theory of empty names, and my previous replies to the objections, and consider whether the theory or replies need revision. I shall next consider whether fictional and mythical names are really empty. I shall argue that at least some utterances of mythical names are. (shrink)
Thomas Hobbes was, rather famously, a nominalist. The core of that nominalism is the belief that the only universal things are universal names: there are no universal objects, or universal ideas. This paper looks at what Hobbes's views about universal names were, how they evolved over time, and how Hobbes argued for them. The remainder of the paper considers two objections to Hobbes's view: a criticism made by several of Hobbes's contemporaries, that Hobbes's view could not account for (...) people saying the same thing in different languages; and a more recently popular criticism of Hobbes, that his nominalism's reliance on similarity implicitly (and inconsistently) involves reliance on a universal. (shrink)
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.