In this essay I present the postmodern phenomenological approach of Levinas, Derrida, and Marion to the problem of naming the unnameable God. For Levinas, God is never experienced directly but only as a third person whose infinity is testified to in the infinity of responsibility to the hungry. For Derrida, God remains the unnameable "wholly other" accessible only as the indeterminate term of pure reference in prayer. For Marion, God remains the object of "de-nomination" through praise. In all three, (...) the problem of naming the unnameable God is necessarily linked to how we relate to fellow human beings, to the hungry in Levinas, justice in Derrida, and charity in Marion. I also reflect on the merits and adequacy of phenomenology as such for speaking of divine transcendence. (shrink)
We report performance measures for lexical decision, word naming, and progressive demasking for a large sample of monosyllabic, monomorphemic French words (N = 1,482). We compare the tasks and also examine the impact of word length, word frequency, initial phoneme, orthographic and phonological distance to neighbors, age-of-acquisition, and subjective frequency. Our results show that objective word frequency is by far the most important variable to predict reaction times in lexical decision. For word naming, it is the first phoneme. (...) Progressive demasking was more influenced by a semantic variable (word imageability) than lexical decision, but was also affected to a much greater extent by perceptual variables (word length, first phoneme/letters). This may reduce its usefulness as a psycholinguistic word recognition task. (shrink)
Conventions in the use of names are discussed, particularly names of linguistic expressions. Also the reference of measure terms like ‘kg’ is discussed, and it is found analogous in important respects to expression names. Some new light is shed on the token-type distinction. Applications to versions of the liar paradox are shown. The use of quotation marks is critically examined.
This contribution discusses the philosophical meaning of the Martin Heidegger’s Rectoral address. First of all, Heidegger’s philosophical basic experience is sketched as the background of his Rectoral address; the being-historical concept of “Anfang”. Then, the philosophical question of the Rectoral address is discussed. It is shown, that Die Selbstbehauptung der deutschen Universität is asking for the identity of human being there (Dasein) in connection with the question about dem Eigenen (the Germans) and dem Fremden (the Greeks). This opposition structuralizes the (...) confrontation with the beginning of philosophical thinking in the Rectoral address. When read against the philosophical background sustaining the Rectoral address, words appearing therein such as “Kampf”, “Macht”, “Volk” and “Marsch” have nothing in common with the same words as used by the Nazis. It is shown that the Rectoral address is an extremely ambiguous text, because it claims a transformation of human being there (Dasein). Although Heidegger’s view on National Socialism is distinguished from Nazis ideology, it is clear that he made a mistake about Hitler. This article makes clear how Heidegger later changed his mind and vocabulary, and in what way this kind of mistakes and changes of mind are inherent to philosophical empiricism. (shrink)
This paper outlines a framework for the abstract investigation of the concept of canonicity of names and of naming systems. Degrees of canonicity of names and of naming systems are distinguished. The structure of the degrees is investigated, and a notion of relative canonicity is defined. The notions of canonicity are formally expressed within a Carnapian system of second-order modal logic.
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)
I recently had the occasion to reread Naming and Necessity by Saul Kripke. NaN struck me this time, as it always has, as breathtakingly clear and lucid. It also struck me this time, as it always has, as wrong-headed in several major ways, both in its methodology and its content. Herein is a brief explanation why.
The problem of reference is central to the fields of linguistics, cognitive science, and epistemology yet it remains largely unresolved. Naming and Reference explains the reference of lexical terms, with particular emphasis placed on proper names, demonstrative pronouns and personal pronouns. It examines such specific issues as: how to account for the reference of names that are empty or speculative, which abound in science and philosophy, and how to account for intentional reference as in "he took Mary to be (...) Jane." Naming and Reference begins with a survey of the history of the subject within a philosophical and critical setting, from Locke, Brentano, Peirce, Frege, Russell, Strawson, Tarski, Carnap and Quine up to Kripke and Fodor. The rest of the book is devoted to an algorithmic theory of reference derived from Peirce's idea that signification is a three-way relationship involving a term, an object and an interpretant. The theory rounds out the causal notion of reference, while at the same time preserving Frege's distinction between sense and reference, and making a place for indexical terms. Through the use of various computer models, R. J. Nelson explores the meaning and reference of words to objects and the relationship of these phenomena to perception, belief and truth. The models used are parallel, connectionist computational models rather than the sequential models of mid-century artificial intelligence. The aim, in opposition to nativist and mental representation theories, is to account for the genesis of semantically interpretable symbols, not to assume them. (shrink)
Despite all the attention philosophers have been paying to Naming and Necessity, they have not realized just how apt the title is: naming and necessity are intimately connected, even more intimately then Saul Kripke has led us to believe. The conception of necessity clarified by Kripke—metaphysical or counterfactual necessity—helps us understand what our ordinary practice of using proper names is about; and proper-name usage in turn helps us understand what counterfactual situations (possible worlds) are about. My aim is (...) to propose yet another picture: (i) inherent in proper-name usage is the expectation that names refer to modally robust individuals:1 individuals that can sustain modal predications like ‘is necessarily human’, or ‘might have discovered Goldbach’s conjecture’; (ii) these modally robust individuals are the fundamental building blocks on the basis of which possible worlds should be conceived in a modal semantics intended to mirror the conceptual apparatus behind ordinary modal talk. In Part II, I describe (i) and (ii), what I call the individual-driven picture. In Part III, I relate this picture to others. The pre-Kripkean pictures of individuals and modality were markedly different. First, there was the conception of modality as logical or analytic necessity. Second, there was the conception of possible worlds needed for physical necessity, giving rise to issues about the transworld identification of individuals. Third came Kripke’s proposal that proper names are rigid designators. Fourth, in the wake of Kripke’s Naming and Necessity lectures, David Kaplan suggested that proper names were directly referential expressions whose propositional contribution was their referent. Sections 1–4 summarize each of these four milestones. Kripke’s view was close to the individual-driven picture. Kaplan’s was even closer—when he was not talking about propositions and what proper names contribute to them.. (shrink)
Saul Kripke ’s book Naming and Necessity (which first appeared in 1972 as a paper within a volume on natural language semantics1) is felt, by many linguists and philosophers, as a milestone of the semantic analysis of natural language. Prior to it, many semanticists took for granted that the meaning of any expression must be a two-level matter, consisting of something of the kind of what Frege called Sinn and Bedeutung or what Carnap christened as intension and extension. The (...) first of the components is what the speaker knows when she understands the expression (and the knowledge of which is independent of any knowledge of facts external to the language in question), while the second amounts to some kind of chunk of the real world which gets denoted or referred to by the expression. Thus, the intension of the king of France is what you get to know as soon as you come to understand the phrase, and the extension is what (if anything) happens to be picked out by the intension in the actual world in the actual moment. This is to say that an expression gets to into the contact with its extension only via the intension (which we can imagine also as a kind of a criterion for picking up the thing). Intension, then, is what amounts to the meaning of the expression in the intuitive sense of the word2. Now Kripke’s considerations challenged this very two-level structure of meaning: he argued that especially proper names get their semantics via a direct, inmediated contact with the world – that their meaning does not mediate their contact with a thing, but directly is the thing. This may be not so surprising in case of proper names (after all, it is even disputable whether they can be counted to the language – for you cannot find them in dictionaries), but Kripke went on to argue that the same holds also for some other expressions, especially natural kind terms such as “cow” or “water”. Kripke’s argumentation is concise and flattening; and it has been provoking a lot of discussions.. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to develop a new connection between naming and necessity. I argue that Kripke’s historical account of naming presupposes the functional necessity of naming. My argument appeals to the etiological notion of function, which can be thought to capture the necessity of functionality in historical terms. It is shown that the historical account of naming entails all conditions in an etiological definition of function.
In Naming and Necessity Saul Kripke offers a number of arguments in order to show that no descriptivist theory of proper names is correct. We present here a certain version of descriptivist theory -we will characterize it as an individual-use reference-fixing descriptivist theory that appeals to descriptions regarding how a name is used by other speakers. This kind of theory can successfully answer all the objections Kripke puts forward in Naming and Necessity. Such sort of descriptivist theory is (...) furthermore compatible with the picture about reference that Kripke presents. It also seems to be able to account for some phenomena that are difficult to explain on Kripke’s view (the existence of informative identity statements and true negative singular existential statements). (shrink)
Victor Klemperer, German philologist and Professor at the University of Dresden, bears testimony to his survival during the Nazi years in his Diaries (1933–1945). Progressively excluded from all social life because of his Jewish religion, Klemperer is forced to recognize himself as a non-subject by the end of the war, calling himself “Nobody” in reference to Ulysses with Polyphemus, the Cyclops. Our article aims to show the mental — cognitive and corporal — process underlying this recognition. Our study will explore (...) the two-pronged thrust of this process: faced with the inexorable destruction of his self, Klemperer has to acknowledge the limits of his analytical capacities. But this extreme experience will enable him to create somatic knowledge destined to recognize what he calls “thought of extinction”. To conclude, we show how this reasoning is based upon action language which consists in naming the body. (shrink)
In Basic Color Terms, Berlin and Kay argued for a restricted number of "basic" color wordswords they claimed to be culturally universal. This claim about language was buttressed by psychologist Eleanor Rosch's famous work on color prototypes. Together, the works of Berlin and Kay and Rosch are the foundation for a contemporary research tradition investigating the biological foundations of color naming. In this article, the author describes some common objections to the works of Berlin and Kay and Rosch and (...) argues that they are not significant. The claim that explanations of color naming ought to be strictly cultural also is discussed and rejected. (shrink)
In this article, I want to focus on time and development in Kripke’s “Naming and Necessity” by considering two topics: (1) the evolution of scientific knowledge; (2) the evolution of biographies. In connection with (1) I suggest the introduction of a sentence operator for epistemic possibility and argue that some of Kripke’s strong metaphysical statements are finely counterbalanced by rather “Popperian” epistemological considerations. In connection with (2) I consider the idea of exploiting necessity of origin for a crossworld identity (...) criterion. (shrink)
Raymond Bradley ha ofrecido una interpretacion esencialista de la ontologia deI Tractatus Logico Philosophicus de Wittgenstein (R. Bradley, The Nature of All Being, 1992), en la que pretende desarrollar las dimensiones modales que en su opinión estan implícitas en el Tractatus. EI proposito de este trabajo es revisar la interpretación bradleyana de los nombres tractarianos corno designadores rígidos, examinando la noción tractariana de nombre y la kripkeana de designador rigido en Naming and Necessity, con un doble objetivo: contestar a (...) la cuestión de si es posible interpretar los nombres tractarianos corno designadores rígidos, y alumbrar algunas semejanzas y diferencias entre ambas teorias deI significado.Raymond Bradley, in his book The Nature of All Being, has put forward an essentialist interpretation of the ontology of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logicophilosophicus and aims to develop the modal dimensions that, in his opinion, are implicit in that work. The aim of this paper is to reassess Bradley’s interpretation of tractarian names as rigid designators, by examining the tractarian notion of name and the kripkeanconcept of rigid designator in Naming and Necessity, with a view to answering the question as to whether an interpretation of tractarian names as rigid designators is possible, and to bringing to light some similarities and diffirences between the two theories of meaning. (shrink)
Some names, specifically the proper names by which people are called, are considered by at least one prominent contemporary philosopher. 1 Looking at the matter from the perspective of medieval philosophy, we might say that the reason such names are semantically ill-behaved is that the act of naming from which they derive is not one of adequate naming. Moreover, supposing that all manner of beings, including people, are we might let adequate naming be governed by the following (...) principle: an agent adequately names a thing if and only if, knowing its proper nature, she bestows a name on the thing by considering that nature. Obviously, on this principle, the acts of naming from which people in our societies derive their names are not acts of adequate naming. (shrink)
Categorization and Naming in Children: Problems of Induction ELLEN M. MARKMAN, 1989, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, x+250 pp. Concepts, Kinds and Cognitive Development FRANK C. KEIL, 1989, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, xv+328 pp.
This is the second in a two part series of articles that attempt to clarify the nature and enduring relevance of Kant's concept of a priori knowledge. (For Part I, see below.) In this article I focus mainly on Saul Kripke's critique of Kant, in Naming and Necessity. I argue that Kripke draws attention to a genuine defect in Kant's epistemological framework, but that he used definitions of certain key terms that were quite different from Kant's definitions. When Kripke's (...) definitions are replaced by Kant's definitions, Kripke's account of the status of naming turns out to be a defense of analytic aposteriority as a significant classification of knowledge that Kant neglected. I also introduce here a new way of understanding such epistemological labels, as defining the perspective adopted by the knowing subject in a given situation, rather than an objective characteristic of certain propositions as such. (shrink)
Philosophers of language have lavished attention on names and other singular referring expressions. But they have focused primarily on what might be called lexicalsemantic character of names and have largely ignored both what I call the lexicalsyntactic character of names and also what I call the pragmatic significance of the naming relation. Partly as a consequence, explanatory burdens have mistakenly been heaped upon semantics that properly belong elsewhere. This essay takes some steps toward correcting these twin lacunae. When we (...) properly distinguish that which belongs to the lexical-syntactic character of names, from that which belongs to the lexical semantic character of names, from that which rests on the pragmatics of the naming relation, we lay to rest many misbegotten claims about names and their presumed semantic behavior. For example, though many believe that Frege’s puzzle about the possibility of informative identity statements motivates a move away from a referentialist semantics for names, I argue that the very possibility of Frege cases has its source not in facts about the lexical-semantic character of names but in facts about the lexical-syntax of the naming relation. If I am right, Frege cases as such are insufficient to justify the introduction of the distinction between sense and reference. In a similar vein, I offer a new diagnosis of the widely misdiagnosed felt invalidity of the substitution of coreferring names within propositional attitude contexts. That felt invalidity has been taken 1 to justify the conclusion that an embedded referring expression must be playing some semantic role either different from or additional to its customary semantic role of standing for its reference. I argue, to the contrary, that failures of substitutivity have their source not in the peculiar semantic behavior of embedded expressions but entirely in certain pragmatic principles. (shrink)
The traditional reading of ancient Chinese texts focuses on their content rather than their modes of expression: truth is considered a given, of which language is merely the expression. This approach misses out on a predominant way of arguing in Chinese texts, namely to evaluate the situation by (re) naming it. A discussion of four textual fragments (up to the 2nd century BC) concerning the topic of regicide illustrates different degrees of this type of argumentation. Among philosophers discussion occurs (...) in a subtle play of specifying terms such as 'regicide' or 'reign', rather than in an explicit defence of regicide by appeal to higher principles. (shrink)
The paper presents a statistical evaluation of the typological data about colour naming systems across the languages of the world that have been obtained by the World Color Survey. In a first step, we discuss a principal component analysis of the categorization data. This leads to a small set of easily interpretable features that are dominant in colour categorization. These features were used for a dimensionality reduction of the categorization data. Based on the thus preprocessed data, it is investigated (...) how the participants of the World Color Survey partition the six primary colours black, white, red, green, yellow and blue into semantic categories. We find a substantial number of counter-examples to the implicative semantic universals that have been suggested in the literature. Finally, an alternative system of semantic universals pertaining to colour naming systems is proposed that provides a better fit of the data. (shrink)
The simulations of Steels & Belpaeme (S&B) suggest that communication could lead to color categories that are closely shared within a language and potentially diverge across languages. We argue that this is opposite of the patterns that are actually observed in empirical studies of color naming. Focal color choices more often exhibit strong concordance across languages while also showing pronounced variability within any language.
The experimental analysis of naming behavior can tell us exactly the kinds of things Horne & Lowe (H & L) report here: (1) the conditions under which people and animals succeed or fail in naming things and (2) the conditions under which bidirectional associations are formed between inputs (objects, pictures of objects, seen or heard names of objects) and outputs (spoken names of objects, multimodal operations on objects). The "stimulus equivalence" that H & L single out is really (...) just the reflexive, symmetric and transitive property of pairwise associations among the above. This is real and of some interest, but it unfortunately casts very little light on symbolization and language in general, and naming capacity in particular. The associative equivalence between name and object is trivial in relation to the real question, which is: How do we (or any system that can do it) manage to connect names to things correctly (Harnad 1987, 1990, 1992)? The experimental analysis of naming behavior begs this question entirely, simply taking it for granted that the connection is somehow successfully accomplished. (shrink)
What’s in a name after Derrida? What’s in a name after all? What is a name such that it always already remains, after all is said and done? And who or what is itthat one calls name, names, or by name? Is it possible (for anyone or anything) not to have a name of one’s own? Or to have another? The same as another? Is it possible to call and recall, in the name of memory and remembrance, indifference or convention, (...) one name for another, one name for the other? Can the name be, as it were, avoided? Could anyone respond responsibly yet decline or resist, not so much that (or because) names wound, nor to protect oneself from being called names, but instead neither to call nor respond to the name, as it were, to the very same name one is called? To protest against the name, to refuse the name to the point of abandoning this and that name? To invent oneself beyond the name, beyond all names, in the name of the name? “For in order to live oneself truly,” Derrida writes, “it is necessary to elude the law of the name, the familial law made for survival and constantly recalling me to death.” What is called naming? One could say that the name is, to life, at once insult and injury. Or that calling names—mourning. (shrink)
For Saint Anselm, the mystery of the Holy Trinity was not merely an object of intellectual speculation but, more importantly, the object of praise and worship. Even though he claims that there is nothing in his treatise that violates the teachings of the Fathers, especially that of Augustine, Anselm explores in Monologion the doctrine of the Trinity in his own unique style. One very interesting discussion that does not appear in Augustine’s De Trinitate or in any of the Augustinian corpus (...) is found in chapter 42, in which Anselm argues for the propriety of naming the Supreme Spirit “Father” and His Word “Son.” This paper examines this chapter, first, in the context of the four immediately preceding chapters and, second, in the context of those writings of Augustine that might have influenced Anselm in his presentation. The paper then offers reasons why Anselm included this unique chapter in his discussion on the Trinity. (shrink)
Understanding how scientific activities use naming stories to achieve disciplinary status is important not only for insight into the past, but for evaluating current claims that new disciplines are emerging. In order to gain a historical understanding of how new disciplines develop in relation to these baptismal narratives, we compare two recently formed disciplines, systems biology and genomics, with two earlier related life sciences, genetics and molecular biology. These four disciplines span the twentieth century, a period in which the (...) processes of disciplinary demarcation fundamentally changed from those characteristic of the nineteenth century. We outline how the establishment of each discipline relies upon an interplay of factors that include paradigmatic achievements, technological innovation, and social formations. Our focus, however, is the baptism stories that give the new discipline a founding narrative and articulate core problems, general approaches and constitutive methods. The highly plastic process of achieving disciplinary identity is further marked by the openness of disciplinary definition, tension between technological possibilities and the ways in which scientific issues are conceived and approached, synthesis of reductive and integrative strategies, and complex social interactions. The importance – albeit highly variable – of naming stories in these four cases indicates the scope for future studies that focus on failed disciplines or competing names. Further attention to disciplinary histories could, we suggest, give us richer insight into scientific development. (shrink)
In this paper, I engage in a preliminary discussion to the thorny problem of analogous naming in Aquinas; namely, the Maimonidean problem of how ourconceptual content can relate to us any knowledge of God. I identify this problem as the First Semantic/Epistemic Problem (FSEP) of religious language. Theprimary determination of semantic content for Aquinas is what I call the Aristotelian Epistemic Principle (AEP). This principle holds that a belief is related tosome experience in order to be known. I show (...) how an examination of the extent the AEP engenders the problem and allows us to find a way out of the FSEP. Forexample, through such an analysis, we can see how the AEP relates to Aquinas’s use of the distinction between the res significata and the modus significandi; the latter which includes the intension of being a created being where the former does not. (shrink)
Over the last two hundred years, there have been many occasions where the name of a newly-discovered element has provoked controversy and dissent but in modern times, the naming of elements after scientists has proved to be particularly contentious. Here we recount the threads of this story, predominantly through discourses in the popular scientific journals, the first major discussion on naming an element after a scientist (Moseley); the first definitive naming after a scientist (Curie); and the (...) first naming after a living scientist (Seaborg). (shrink)
This paper addresses the question of whether there is a proper analogy of being according to both meaning and being. I disagree with Ralph McInerny’s understanding of how things are named through concepts and argue that McInerny’s account does not allow for the thing represented by the name to be known in itself. In his understanding of analogy, only ideas of things may be known. This results in a wholesale inability to name things at all and thereby forces McInerny to (...) relegate naming to a purely logical concern. As a consequence, for McInerny, since naming becomes only a logical concern, being itself cannot be known as analogous according to being and meaning since naming only involves the naming of ideas, not of things. (shrink)
This study examines the use of names in the construction of “credibility” as a journalistic duty. Using the framework set forth by Tuchman (1972) of objectivity as a “strategic ritual,” the study discusses the ethical justifications put forth by the New York Times for the process through which it decided to identify a CIA interrogator who had been involved in questioning 9/11 captives. The examination concludes that the facticity of naming should ultimately be uncoupled from the concept of credibility.