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 propername' (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 propername 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)
A strictly Millian approach to proper names is defended, i.e. one in which expressions when used properly ('onymically') refer directly, i.e. without the semantic intermediaryship of the words that appear to comprise them. The approach may appear self-evident for names which appear to have no component parts (in current English) but less so for others. Two modes of reference are distinguished for potentially ambiguous expressions such as The Long Island . A consequence of this distinction is to allow a (...) speculative neurolinguistics of proper ('onymic') and semantic ('non-onymic') reference. A further consequence is that translation of onymically referring expressions is impossible (since they have no semantic content), and some apparently self-evident objections to this view are met by insisting on a distinction between a propername as a referring expression and its etymology. The nature of the linguistic mechanism(s) by which an expression becomes proper (i.e. loses sense) shows that etymological opacity is a precondition for the survival of words in certain proper names, furnishing evidence for reference without sense. The process of becoming proper amounts to abrogation of sense for the purpose of reference, which is precisely the requirement for a systematic defence of Mill. (shrink)
Gareth Evans (1973) adduces a case in which a propername apparently undergoes a change in referent. ‘Madagascar’ was originally the name of a part of Africa. Marco Polo, erroneously thinking he was following native usage, applied the name to an island off the African coast. Today ‘Madagascar’ is the name of that island. Evans argues that this kind of case threatens Kripke’s picture of naming as developed in Naming and Necessity. (...) According to this picture, the name, as used by Marco Polo, referred to a part of the African mainland, since he was connected to the latter by a historical chain of communication. Since we are historically connected to Marco Polo, the name, as it is used today, still refers to the African mainland. But it doesn’t. The aim of the present paper is to give a conclusive account of the phenomenon adduced by Evans, which is compatible with Kripke’s picture. (shrink)
By "propername" I mean a propername in Frege's sense, i.e., a singular term. The "problem" mentioned in the title is whether the subject-term of an existential statement can be a propername. I concentrate on examining some of the existing attempts to define "propername" and conclude that, whatever answer is given to the question just posed, the authors of these attempts (Dummett, C Wright and B Hale) will have to (...) modify some of their beliefs. My own favored solution is to say that it can, sometimes denoting a non-existent object. (shrink)
The article treats the concept of propername in Juri Lotman’s semiotics, taking into account also studies in the same field by other authors of the Tartu-Moscow school (V. Ivanov, B. Ogibenin, V. Toporov, B. Uspenski). Focus is laid at three sub-topics: name and myth, name and text, name and artistic creation. One of the sources of treating propername for both the program article by J. Lotman and B. Uspenski (“Myth — (...) class='Hi'>Name — Culture”), and works by several other semioticians of the Tartu–Moscow school is confidence in the connection between propername and mythical (a-semiotic) thought: semiosis equals here with nomination. Propername plurality, different re-namings affirm the continuing importance of mythical thinking in later culture. Proper names (such as personal names, place names) belong, in addition to natural language, also into a certain individual system, forming thus an interlinguistic layer located on the boundary of language. J. Lotmanstresses that art has a specific power of uniting general and propername (propername characterized here by individuality, explosiveness). An artistic work is even doubly of propername character: both the act of creation and its reception are by nature individual and unrepeated. In the opinion of the authors the treatment of propername by the Tartu-Moscow school contains fruitful and promising standpoints for the analysis of contemporary culture that, however, have been applied unjustifiably little. (shrink)
The present article is divided into two parts. Its theoretical introductory part takes under scrutiny how propername has been previously dealt with in linguistics, philosophy and semiotics. The purpose of this short overview is to synthesise different approaches that could be productive in the semiotic analysis of naming practices. Author proposes that proper names should not be seen as a linguistic element or a type of (indexical) signs, but rather as a function that can be carried (...) by different linguistic units. This approach allows us to develop a transdisciplinary basis for a wider understanding of naming as a sociocultural practice. The empirical part of the article uses one certain village in Estonia in Laane-Virumaa district as an example to demonstrate how toponyms structure the social space, how they carry the memory and how naming practice highlights such changes in the semiotic behaviour of the social life that otherwise could have remained hidden. (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)
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)
In this article I discuss the role of the immigrant in Swedish society and especially how such a role is construed through what I call the myth of schooling, that is, the normalization of an arbitrary distribution of wealth and power. I relate this myth to the idea of consensual democracy as it is expressed through an implicit idea of what it means to be Swedish. I not only critique the processes through which immigrants are discriminated against or excluded from (...) Swedish society but also try to shift the understanding of the conditions under which such exclusion is possible in the first place. Being Swedish is that which the immigrant is not. What I argue and give examples of is that the 'no name' immigrant becomes a possibility for democracy to happen when he or she claims his or her presence in the demos, in such a way as to make evident a split in the self-understanding of a purely consensual Swedish democracy. In the article I argue that what is needed in order to go beyond the myth of schooling, is a pedagogy of dissensus contesting the normalizing of an unequal social order by making it contingent. (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)
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)
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)
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)
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 paper examines Frege’s argument based on the problem of cognitive value. This argument is opposed to Millian semantics on proper names and sustains Frege’s owns proposal. I point out a general flaw in the argument and elucidate the difficulty embodied by the ‘Paderewski’ example. I also defend the relevance of the example from a contention suggested in a recent paper by David Sosa.
Evolutionary theory has recently been applied to language. The aim of this paper is to contribute to such an evolutionary approach to language. I argue that Kripke’s causal account of proper names, from an ecological point of view, captures the information carried by uses of a propername, which is that a certain object is referred to. My argument appeals to Millikan’s concept of local information, which captures information about the environment useful for an organism.
This paper proposes a new, stronger version of the cluster theory of proper names. It introduces a meta-identifying rule that can establish a cluster's main descriptions and explain how they must be satisfied in order to allow the application of a propername. At the same time, it preserves some main insights of the causal-historical view. With the resulting rule we can not only give a more detailed reply to the counter-examples to descriptivism, but also explain the (...) informative contents of proper names and why they are rigid designators in contrast with descriptions.1. (shrink)
It is widely believed that the semantic function of an ordinary propername (e.g. 'Aristotle') is inexplicable in terms of the semantic function of an ordinary definite description (e.g. 'the last great ancient philosopher'), given a Russellian analysis of the latter. This paper questions this belief by suggesting a possible semantic explication. In brief, I propose that an ordinary propername is a mere placeholder for an arbitrary ordinary definite description true of a given individual. The (...) proposal is set out and justified in detail, as well as compared with both traditional description theories of ordinary proper names and the theory that an ordinary propername just means its referent. I contend that the proposed theory is better than the former sort of theory, and at least as good as the latter one. (shrink)
Unobservable properties that are specific to individuals, such as their proper names, can only be known by people who are familiar with those individuals. Do young children utilize this “familiarity principle” when learning language? Experiment 1 tested whether forty-eight 2- to 4-year-old children were able to determine the referent of a propername such as “Jessie” based on the knowledge that the speaker was familiar with one individual but unfamiliar with the other. Even 2-year-olds successfully identified Jessie (...) as the individual with whom the speaker was familiar. Experiment 2 examined whether children appreciate this principle at a general level, as do adults, or whether this knowledge may be specific to certain word-learning situations. To test this, forty-eight 3- to 5-year-old children were given the converse of the task in Experiment 1—they were asked to determine the individual with whom the speaker was familiar based on the speaker’s knowledge of an individual’s propername. Only 5-year-olds reliably succeeded at this task, suggesting that a general understanding of the familiarity principle is a relatively late developmental accomplishment. (shrink)
Two basic answers have been given to the question whether proper names have meaning, the negative by Mill and later developed by Kripke and the affirmative by Frege and later developed by Searle. My aim is to integrate the two apparently irreconcilable theories by distinguishing the two aspects of the issue. I claim that, roughly speaking, whereas Kripke’s No Sense View provides a good answer to the question, “How are proper names linked to their referents?”, Searle’s Sense View (...) provides a good account of the issue “What do we do when we use a propername?”. Furthermore, I claim that the speakers attend to the referent of the propername both in virtue of Kripkean chain of communication and in virtue of Searlian occasion-relative sense. Ordinarily, the chain of communication and the Searlian sense yield the same result, i.e. lead to the same referent. In cases of conflict, which are very rare, my intuition sides with the former against the latter. It would seem, therefore, that the only necessary and sufficient condition for a successful reference with a propername is the existence of the Kripkean chain which links it with its referent. (shrink)
The question is whether a propername (e.G., "tom") may be used in a way that parallels that of "man" in "man is a species". "tom is an individual" is the answer proposed, With "individual" functioning as a second order term. A number of difficulties are resolved by showing that "tom is an individual" may be rendered as "a man is (in english) called 'tom' and is so constituted that only he may without ambiguity be called 'tom'. This (...) shows that "tom" in "tom is an individual" is neither purely a first order nor purely a second order term. (shrink)
Close attention to the meanings of certain sentences--Counterfactual-Identity sentences--Reveals that no theory in which proper names are simple designators can be a complete and correct semantics of english. An account of connotation is outlined according to which connotation varies with the linguistic environment and with the context of utterance: this accounts for the fact that no propername is synonymous with a cluster of descriptions.
According to relativized transcendentalism, the meaning of expressions, consisting in their intension and extension, is provided by a set of (syntactical, semantical and pragmatical) rules which prescribe their correct use in a context. We interpret a linguistic system by fixing a domain (of the values of the variables) and by assigning exactly one object to each individual constant and n-tuples of objects to predicates. The theory says that proper names have a purely referential role and that their meaning is (...) therefore limited to the individual they designate. Since all singular terms must refer to exactly one referent there are no so-called empty names. A propername is defined as a syntactically unstructured term in a language L used in a context C such that the truth condition for a sentence (Φα in L and C consists in the fact that, in accord with the rule which maps items from the set of individual constants into the set of objects, a refers to an object x and x satisfies Φ. It is shown how - by using this theory - puzzling problems concerning Frege's morning star and evening star, allegedly empty names, changes of name etc. can easily be solved. (shrink)
Principally under the influence of Saul Kripke (1972), philosophical semantics since the closing decades of 20th century has been dominated by thephenomenon Nathan Salmon (1986) aptly dubbed Direct Reference “mania.” Accordingly, it is now practically orthodox to hold that the meanings of proper names are entirely exhausted by their referents and devoid of any descriptive content. The return to a purely referential semantics of names has, nevertheless, coincided with a resurgence of some of the very puzzles that motivated description (...) theories of names in the first place, to wit: the informativeness of true identity statements of the form ‘a=b’ and the failure of substitutivity salve veritate for co-referential names in propositional attitude ascriptions. I argue that a Metalinguistic Description Theory of proper names, which treats the meaning of an arbitrary propername as roughly equivalent to the definite description ‘the bearer of NN,’ offers a novel, semantically innocent solution to these puzzles when synthesized with Keith Donnellan’s (1966) insight that descriptions are semantically ambiguous between attributive and referential meanings. The ensuing account is then defended against two well-known Kripkean objections to metalinguisticsemantics: the Circularity Objection and the Paderewski Puzzle. (shrink)
Charles S. Peirce’s theory of proper names bears helpful insights for how we might think about his understanding of persons. Persons, on his view, are continuities, not static objects. I argue that Peirce’s notion of the legisign, particularly proper names, sheds light on the habitual and conventional elements of what it means to be a person. In this paper, I begin with an account of what philosophers of language have said about proper names in order to distinguish (...) Peirce’s theory of proper names from them. Then, I present Peirce’s semiotic theory of proper names, followed by some ways in which his theory can be applied to practical concerns, such as first impressions, name changing, identity, and temporary insanity. (shrink)
This paper addresses some data put forward by Geurts (1997) in support of his metalinguistic or quotation theory of proper names, according to which a name N means ‘the individual named N’. The data illustrate ten linguistic behaviours claimed to be shared by proper names and definite descriptions. I argue that in some cases the behaviours have a common explanation which is based on a property independent of Geurts' analysis, and that in the remaining cases the behaviours (...) are not actually shared. Thus these behaviours do not actually support the metalinguistic theory. (shrink)
According to the New Theory of Reference, proper names (and indexicals) and natural kind terms are semantically similar to each other but crucially different from definite descriptions and “ordinary” predicates, respectively. New Theorists say that a name, unlike a definite description, is a directly referential nondescriptional rigid designator, which refers “without a mediation of the content” and is not functional (i.e. lacks a Carnapian intension). Natural kind terms, such as ‘horse’ and ‘water’, are held to have similar distinctions, (...) in contrast to other predicates. However, the New Theory contains some problems related to reference, descriptionality, content and meaning. In view of these problems, it will be argued that the distinctive shared feature of proper names and natural kind terms, while technically corresponding to nonfunctionality, is to be explicated in terms of independence of possible worlds, rather than in terms of reference and content: natural kind terms are world-independent predicates, making “worldless” predications. Just as, say, ‘Elvis’ names Elvis even with respect to “Elvisless” worlds, or, rather, names Elvis independently of worlds, natural kind terms are in an important sense “worldless” as well: to talk about Elvis is to talk about him irrespective of moments of time and possible worlds, and is to talk about a human, also irrespective of moments and worlds, while it is not to talk about, say, a drug-addict irrespective of moments, nor about a singer irrespective of worlds. There is no genuinely timeless and worldless predication of the sort “Elvis is (was) bald”, but there is, it seems, such a predication “Elvis is (was) human”. This notion of independence of times and worlds is detached from those of descriptionality and content mediation. (shrink)
This article is a comment on barry miller, "proper names and their distinctive senses," "australian journal of philosophy", Volume 52, Pages 201-210, January 1974. Miller claims that the sense of a name is its role of referring to the individual to which it has been attached in the act of naming. Miller also claims that names have unique senses and that it is impossible in principle to say what these senses are. Here it is shown that these claims (...) are incompatible. Miller's account of the senses of names also results in the problem which frege's distinction between sense and reference was intended to solve. (shrink)
Common names, for Mill, have both connotation and denotation. Thus ‘horse’ connotes certain properties, and the name ‘horse’ denotes the things that have those properties. By contrast, proper names have no connotations; they do not denote in virtue of the possession of certain properties by their denotations, but so to speak, directly. Thus Socrates received his name by being dubbed ‘Socrates’; and he might just as well have been given any other name. This contrast is misleading. (...) After all, we might have named horses by another name, too; e.g., ‘cow’ or ‘Pferd’. However, once the convention by which they are called ‘horses’ is established, it is not correct to call them ‘cows’. A horse is not a cow. Just so Socrates could have been named ‘Plato’ or ‘Moses’, but once he has been named ‘Socrates’, it is just as wrong to call him ‘Plato’ as it is to call a horse a ‘cow’. What is correctly called a ‘horse’ is so called in virtue of its possession of certain properties, just as what is called ‘Socrates’ is so called in virtue of his possession of the requisite properties. From this point of view, proper names are words like any others. (Leonard Linsky, Oblique Contexts, University of Chicago Press 1983, pp. 16f.). (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 propername'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)
The paper argues that philosophers commonly misidentify the substitutivity principle involved in Russell’s puzzle about substitutivity in “On Denoting” (the so-called "George IV puzzle"). This matters because when that principle is properly identified the puzzle becomes considerably sharper and more interesting than it is often taken to be. This article describes both the puzzle itself and Russell's solution to it, which involves resources beyond the theory of descriptions. It then explores the epistemological and metaphysical consequences of that solution. One such (...) consequence, it argues, is that Russell must abandon his commitment to propositions. (shrink)
The *Tractatus* contains an argument that there are simple, necessarily existent objects, which, being simple, are suited to be the referents of the names occuring in the final analysis of propositions. The argument is perplexing in its own right, but also for its invocation of the notion of "substance". I argue that if one locates Wittgenstein's conception of substance in the Kantian tradition to which his talk of "substance" alludes, what emerges is an argument that is very nearly--but not quite--cogent.
John Searle's Speech Acts (1969) and Expression and Meaning (1979) developed a highly original and influential approach to the study of language. But behind both works lay the assumption that the philosophy of language is in the end a branch of the philosophy of the mind: speech acts are forms of human action and represent just one example of the mind's capacity to relate the human organism to the world. The present book is concerned with these biologically fundamental capacities, and, (...) though third in the sequence, in effect it provides the philosophical foundations for the other two. Intentionality is taken to be the crucial mental phenomenon, and its analysis involves wide-ranging discussions of perception, action, causation, meaning, and reference. In all these areas John Searle has original and stimulating views. He ends with a resolution of the 'mind-body' problem. (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)
According to Scott Soames, proper names have no descriptive meaning. Nonetheless, Soames maintains that proper names are typically used to make descriptive assertions. In this paper, I challenge Soames’ division between meaning and what is asserted, first by arguing that competent speakers always make descriptive assertions with name-containing sentences, and then by defending an account of propername meaning that accommodates this fact.