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)
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)
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)
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)
A recent defence of the idea of analyzing names as predicates that relies on the calling relation to explain their meanings, an account developed by Fara, is claimed to escape the problems afflicting analyses that rely on the calling relation that are meta-linguistic. For Fara, this is because the calling relation itself is not essentially meta-linguistic. Fara claims that distinguishing between meta-linguistic and non-meta-linguistic notions of calling disperses with the common objection to treating names as predicates, specifically, Kripke's (...) objections to the informativeness of these kinds of accounts. 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)
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.
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)
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.
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.
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)
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 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)
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.
Saul Kripke, in a series of classic writings of the 1960s and 1970s, changed the face of metaphysics and philosophy of language. Christopher Hughes offers a careful exposition and critical analysis of Kripke's central ideas about names, necessity, and identity. He clears up some common misunderstandings of Kripke's views on rigid designation, causality and reference, and the necessary a posteriori and contingent a priori. Through his engagement with Kripke's ideas Hughes makes a significant contribution to ongoing debates on, inter (...) alia, the semantics of natural kind terms, the nature of natural kinds, the essentiality of origin and constitution, the relative merits of 'identitarian' and counterpart-theoretic accounts of modality, and the identity or otherwise of mental types and tokens with physical types and tokens. No specialist knowledge in either the philosophy of language or metaphysics is presupposed; Hughes's book will be valuable for anyone working on the ideas which Kripke made famous in the philosophy world. (shrink)
As a class of terms and mental representations, proper names and mental names possess an important function that outstrips their semantic and psycho-semantic functions as common, rigid devices of direct reference and singular mental representations of their referents, respectively. They also function as abstract linguistic markers that signal and underscore their referents' individuality. I promote this thesis to explain why we give proper names to certain particulars, but not others; to account for the transfer of singular thought (...) via communication with proper names; and, more generally, to support a cognitivist, not acquaintance or instrumentalist, theory of singular thought. (shrink)
Frege introduced the distinction between sense and reference to account for the information conveyed by identity statements. We can put the point like this: if the meaning of a term is exhausted by what it stands for, then how can 'a =a' and 'a =b' differ in meaning? Yet it seems they do, for someone who understands all the terms involved would not necessarily judge that a =b even though they judged that a =a. It seems that 'a =b' just (...) says something more than the trivial ’a = a' - it seems to contain more information, in some sense of 'information'. So either we have to add something to explain this extra information, or sever the very plausible links between meaning and understanding. This is what some writers have called 'Frege's Puzzle' It is undeniable that there is a phenomenon here to be explained, and it was Frege's insight to see the need for its explanation. But how should we explain it? Frege's idea was to add another semantic notion - Sinn, or Sense -— to account for the information conveyed. Sense is part of the meaning of an expression: it is the 'cognitive value' of the expression, or that ’wherein the mode of presentation is contained' (Frege 1957 p.57). Sense has a role to play in systematically determining the meanings of complex expressions, and ultimately in fixing the contents of judgements. It is the senses of whole sentences — Gedanken or Thoughts - which are candidates for truth and falsehood, and which are thus the objects of our propositional attitudes. Of course, introducing the notion of sense in this way does not, by itself, tell us what sense is. It only imposes a condition on a theory of meaning (and ultimately) belief: that it must account for distinctions in cognitive value or 'mode of presentation' (this is not a trivial thesis —- some philosophers today would deny that an explanation of Frege's Puzzle must occur within semantics or the theory of meaning: see Salmon 1985). In this paper I want to explore one way of meeting this condition for the theory of names in natural language, by examining Kripke's well-known 'Puzzle about Belief' (Kripke 1979).. (shrink)
As our data will show, negative existential sentences containing socalled empty names evoke the same strong semantic intuitions in ordinary speakers and philosophers alike.Santa Claus does not exist.Superman does not exist.Clark Kent does not exist.Uttering the sentences in (1) seems to say something truth-evaluable, to say something true, and to say something different for each sentence. A semantic theory ought to explain these semantic intuitions.The intuitions elicited by (1) are in apparent conflict with the Millian view of proper (...) class='Hi'>names. According to Millianism, the meaning (or 'semantic value') of a proper name is just its referent. But empty names, such as 'Santa Claus' and 'Superman', appear to lack a .. (shrink)
In my dissertation (UCLA 2002), I argue that, by appropriating Fregean resources, Millians can solve the problems that empty names pose. As a result, the debate between Millians and Fregeans should be understood, not as a debate about whether there are senses, but rather as a debate about where there are senses.
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)
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)
Statements about fictional characters, such as “Gregor Samsa has been changed into a beetle,” pose the problem of how we can say something true (or false) using empty names. I propose an original solution to this problem that construes such utterances as reports of the “prescriptions to imagine” generated by works of fiction. In particular, I argue that we should construe these utterances as specifying, not what we are supposed to imagine—the propositional object of the imagining—but how we are (...) supposed to imagine. Most other theories of thought and discourse about fictional characters either fail to capture the intentionality of our imaginings, or else obscure the differences between imaginings directed toward fictional characters and those directed toward real individuals. I argue that once we have an account of prescriptions to imagine about real individuals, we can adapt the same framework to specify the contents of prescriptions to imagine about fictional characters, and thereby to account for the truth (or falsity) of statements about fictional characters. (shrink)
In this paper we defend a direct reference theory of names. We maintain that the meaning of a name is its bearer. In the case of vacuous names, there is no bearer and they have no meaning. We develop a unified theory of names such that one theory applies to names whether they occur within or outside fiction. Hence, we apply our theory to sentences containing names within fiction, sentences about fiction or sentences making comparisons (...) across fictions. We then defend our theory against objections and compare our view to the views of Currie, Walton, and others. (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)
The difference between common and proper names seems to derive from specific semantic characteristics of proper names. In particular, proper names refer to specific individual entities or events, and unlike common names, rarely map onto more general semantic characteristics (attributes, concepts, categories). This fact makes the link proper names have with their reference particularly fragile. Processing proper names seems, as a consequence, to require special cognitive and neural resources. Neuropsychological findings show that proper (...) class='Hi'>names and common names follow functionally distinct processing pathways. These pathways are neurally distinct and differently sensitive to focal or generalized brain damage, cognitive changes with age or lack of organic resources. Their precise location, depending on specific tasks, is still partly unknown. (shrink)
Some descriptivists reply to the modal argument by appealing to scope ambiguities. In this paper, we argue that those replies donâ€™t work in the case of apparently empty names like â€˜Sherlock Holmesâ€™.
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)
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 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)
After a brief review of the notions of necessity and a priority, this paper scrutinizes Kripke's arguments for supposedly contingent a priori propositions and necessary a posteriori propositions involving proper names, and reaches a negative conclusion, i.e. there are no such propositions, or at least the propositions Kripke gives as examples are not such propositions. All of us, including Kripke himself, still have to face the old question raised by Hume, i.e. how can we justify the necessity and universality (...) of general statements on the basis of sensory or empirical evidence? (shrink)
Angle Grinder Man removes wheel locks from cars in London.1 He is something of a folk hero, saving drivers from enormous parking and towing ﬁ nes, and has succeeded thus far in eluding the authorities. In spite of his cape and lamé tights, he is no ﬁ ction; he’s a real person. By contrast, Pegasus, Zeus and the like are ﬁ ctions. None of them is real. In fact, not only is each of them different from the others, all differ (...) from Angle Grinder Man. After all, Zeus throws thunderbolts but doesn’t remove boots from cars; unlike Superman, Angle Grinder Man couldn’t leap over a parked Mini, and all sightings suggest that he is a human being, not a horse. According to the charmingly austere theory of Direct Reference, a proper name’s meaning is simply its referent.2 Two proper names with.. (shrink)
This paper argues that the path to knowledge concerning the right account of proper names attends to their representational and epistemological roles — to, that is, their contribution in sentences of the form "A is F" to how things are being represented to be by the sentence, to the information about how things are that such sentences deliver to us, and to the way this information is used to justify the production of such sentences. These considerations, I argue, support (...) a version of the description theory of reference for 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)
This paper develops a new account of reference-fixing for proper names. The account is built around an intuitive claim about reference fixing: the claim that I am a participant in a practice of using α to refer to o only if my uses of α are constrained by the representationally relevant ways it is possible for o to behave. §I raises examples that suggest that a right account of how proper names refer should incorporate this claim. §II provides (...) such an account. (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)
An identity statement flanked on both sides with proper names is necessarily true, Saul Kripke thinks, if it's true at all. Thus, contrary to the received view – or at least what was, prior to Kripke, the received view – a statement like(A) Hesperus is Phosphorus.
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 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 proper name. 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)
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)
Fred Adams and collaborators advocate a view on which empty-name sentences semantically encode incomplete propositions, but which can be used to conversationally implicate descriptive propositions. This account has come under criticism recently from Marga Reimer and Anthony Everett. Reimer correctly observes that their account does not pass a natural test for conversational implicatures, namely, that an explanation of our intuitions in terms of implicature should be such that we upon hearing it recognize it to be roughly correct. Everett argues that (...) the implicature view provides an explanation of only some our intuitions, and is in fact incompatible with others, especially those concerning the modal profile of sentences containing empty names. I offer a pragmatist treatment of empty names based upon the recognition that the Gricean distinction between what is said and what is implicated is not exhaustive, and argue that such a solution avoids both Everett’s and Reimer’s criticisms.Selon Fred Adams et ses collaborateurs, les phrases comportant des noms propres vides codent sémantiquement des propositions incomplètes, bien qu’elles puissent être utilisées pour impliquer des propositions descriptives dans le contexte d’une conversation. Marga Reimer et Anthony Everett ont récemment critiqué cette théorie. Reimer note judicieusement que leur théorie ne résiste pas à l’examen naturel des implications conversationnelles; une explication de nos intuitions concernant l’implication doit être telle que lorsque nous l’entendons, elle nous apparaît globalement correcte. Everett soutient que la théorie de l’implication ne parvient à expliquer qu’un certain nombre de nos intuitions et reste incompatible avec d’autres, notamment celles qui concernent la dimension modale des phrases contenant des noms propres vides. Je propose ici un traitement pragmatiste des noms propres vides fondé sur l’observation que la distinction Gricéenne entre ce qui est dit et ce qui est impliqué n’est pas exhaustive; je soutiens que cette solution échappe aux critiques d’Everett et de Reimer. (shrink)
Ordinary use of empty names encompasses a variety of different phenomena, including issues in semantics, mental content, fiction, pretense, and linguistic practice. In this paper I offer a novel account of empty names, the cognitive theory, and show how it offers a satisfactory account of the phenomena. The virtues of this theory are based on its strength and parsimony. It allows for a fully homogeneous semantic treatment of names coped with ontological frugality and empirical and psychological adequacy.
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)
[R. M. Sainsbury] Evans argued that most ordinary proper names were Russellian: to suppose that they have no bearer is to suppose that they have no meaning. The first part of this paper addresses Evans's arguments, and finds them wanting. Evans also claimed that the logical form of some negative existential sentences involves 'really' (e.g. 'Hamlet didn't really exist'). One might be tempted by the view, even if one did not accept its Russellian motivation. However, I suggest that Evans (...) gives no adequate account of 'really', and I point to unclarities in Wiggins's similar, but distinct, attempt to use 'really' in the logical form of true negative existentials. /// [David Wiggins] Evans was not wrong (I maintain) to say that the senses of genuine proper names invoke and require objects. Names in fiction or hypothesis mimic such names. Pace Evans, Sainsbury and free logicians, proper names are scopeless. (Evans's 'Julius' is not a name.) Names create a presumption of existential generalization. In sentences such as 'Vulcan does not really exist', that presumption is bracketed. The sentence specifies by reference to story or report a concept identical with Vulcan and declares it be really uninstantiated. (The sentence, which partakes of play, is a kind of palimpsest.) It is explained why this second level view of 'exists' is to be preferred. (shrink)
Indexicals are unique among expressions in that they depend for their literal content upon extra-semantic features of the contexts in which they are uttered. Taking this peculiarity of indexicals into account yields solutions to variants of Frege's Puzzle involving objects of attitude-bearing of an indexical nature. If names are indexicals, then the classical versions of Frege's Puzzle can be solved in the same way. Taking names to be indexicals also yields solutions to tougher, more recently-discovered puzzles such as (...) Kripke's well-known case involving Paderewski. We argue that names are in fact rigidly designating indexicals. We also argue that fully developed, the direct reference theory's best strategy for solving the puzzles amounts to the adoption of the indexical theory of names – a move that we argue should be thought of as a natural development of the direct reference theory, and not as antagonistic to it. (shrink)
Al-Ghazālī's most detailed explanation of how signification works occurs in his treatise on The Beautiful Names of God. Al-Ghazālī builds squarely on the commentary tradition on Aristotle's Peri hermeneias : words signify things by means of concepts and correspondingly, existence is laid out on three levels, linguistic, conceptual, and particular (i.e. extramental). This framework allows al-Ghazālī to put forward what is essentially an Aristotelian reading of what happens when a name successfully picks out a being: when a quiddity is (...) named by some kind term, its referent in the mind is formally identical to the quiddity of an individual existent which belongs to that natural kind. Al-Ghazālī then proceeds to tease out the implications of this scheme for the special problem of signifying God. It turns out that the Peripatetic theory, which al-Ghazālī appropriates from Ibn Sīnā, is ill equipped for the task as al-Ghazālī envisions it. (shrink)
I argue that (a) the causal theory of proper names and (b) Kripke's chain of references thesis are logically independent of each other, and that the case for (a) is very weak. I observe that rejecting (a) we lose one powerful reason for treating proper names as rigid designators. I then consider reasons for subscribing to (b), and I argue that (b) is compatible with either a rigid or a non-rigid (descriptive) semantic treatment of proper names.
This paper defends a direct reference view of empty names, saying that empty names literally have no meaning and cannot be used to express truths. However, all names, including empty names, are associated with accompanying descriptions that are implicated in pragmatically imparted truths. A sentence such as Â“Vulcan doesnÂ’t existÂ” pragmatically imparts that there is no tenth planet. This view is defended against objections.
The politics of ethnic names, such as ‘Latino’ and ‘Hispanic’, raises legitimate issues for three reasons: because non-political considerations of descriptive adequacy are insufficient to determine absolutely the question of names; political considerations may be germane to an ethnic name’s descriptive adequacy; and naming opens up the political question of a chosen furture, to which we are accountable. The history of colonial and neo-colonial conditions structuring the relations of the North, Central and South Americas is both critical in (...) understanding the political condition of Latinos in the USA and relevant in current colonial relations. Key Words: ascriptive class segment • colonialism • ethnic names • Hispanic • Latino • neo-colonialism • political contestation. (shrink)
Many who agree with Kripke that ‘sloppy, colloquial speech’ often confuses use and mention would deem ‘ a is called N’ an example of such confusion, insisting on ‘ a is called "N"’ as the properly philosophical, un-sloppy, way of saying what is usually intended. Delia Graff Fara demurs – in my view, rightly. But the reasons she gives for doing so are, I think, themselves questionable and in any case do not go to the heart of the mistake on (...) which Kripke's condemnation of colloquial speech as sloppy rests. I discuss Fara's claims that what is behind the mistake is failing to appreciate the difference between "appellative" and "referring" uses of names and overlooking the fact that names sometimes function as predicates, finding fault with both. I then argue that the mistake stems from adherence to a widely accepted picture of the mechanics of mentioning and that it is that picture that is confused, not ordinary speakers. (shrink)
In this paper, a theory of the contents of fictional names — names of fictional people, places, etc. — will be developed.1 The fundamental datum that must be addressed by such a theory is that fictional names are, in an important sense, empty: the entities to which they putatively refer do not exist.2 Nevertheless, they make substantial contributions to the truth conditions of sentences in which they occur. Not only do such sentences have truth conditions, sentences differing (...) only in the fictional names they contain differ in their truth conditions. It is, after all, commonplace to note such things as, for example, thatBilbo Baggins is a hobbitis true, andSherlock Holmes is a hobbitis false, while acknowledging at .. (shrink)
Bertrand Russell introduced several novel ideas in his 1903 Principles of Mathematics that he later gave up and never went back to in his subsequent work. Two of these are the related notions of denoting concepts and classes as many. In this paper we reconstruct each of these notions in the framework of conceptual realism and connect them through a logic of names that encompasses both proper and common names, and among the latter, complex as well as simple (...) common names. Names, proper or common, and simple or complex, occur as parts of quantifier phrases, which in conceptual realism stand for referential concepts, i.e., cognitive capacities that inform our speech and mental acts with a referential nature and account for the intentionality, or directedness, of those acts. In Russell’s theory, quantifier phrases express denoting concepts (which do not include proper names). In conceptual realism, names, as well as predicates, can be nominalized and allowed to occur as "singular terms", i.e., as arguments of predicates. Occurring as a singular term, a name denotes, if it denotes at all, a class as many, where, as in Russell’s theory, a class as many of one object is identical with that one object, and a class as many of more than one object is a plurality, i.e., a plural object that we call a group. Also, as in Russell’s theory, there is no empty class as many. When nominalized, proper names function as "singular terms" just the way they do in so-called free logic. Leśniewski’s ontology, which is also called a logic of names can be completely interpreted within this conceptualist framework, and the well-known oddities of Leśniewski’s system are shown not to be odd at all when his system is so interpreted. Finally, we show how the pluralities, or groups, of the logic of classes as many can be used as the semantic basis of plural reference and predication. We explain in this way Russell’s "fundamental doctrine upon which all rests", i.e., "the doctrine that the subject of a proposition may be plural, and that such plural subjects are what is meant by classes [as many] which have more than one term" (Russell 1938, p. 517). (shrink)
It is widely believed that the semantic function of an ordinary proper name (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 proper name 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 proper name 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)
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 proper name, 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.
It has been persuasively argued by David Kaplan and others that the proposition expressed by statements like (1) is a singular proposition, true in just those worlds in which a certain person, David Israel, is a computer scientist. Call this proposition P . The truth of this proposition does not require that the utterance (1) occur, or even that Israel has ever said anything at all. Marcus, Donnellan, Kripke and others have persuasively argued for a view of proper names (...) that, put in Kaplan’s terms and applied to this example, implies that the proposition expressed by (2) is also simply P .1 The thesis that expressions of a certain category (names, indexicals, demonstratives, pronouns, descriptions, etc.) are referential 2holds that these expressions contribute the object to which they refer, rather than a mode of presentation of that object, to the propositions expressed by statements containing them. The thesis that indexicals and names are referential creates the challenge of explaining the difference in cognitive signiﬁcance between statements like (1) and (2), that express the same proposition[Wettstein, 1986]. The problem has two parts, which.. (shrink)
Charles Peirce's theory of proper names is intimately connected to a number of central topics in contemporary philosophy of language and logic. Several papers have appeared in the past in which Peirce's theory of names has been attested to be a precursor of the causal-historical theory of reference.2 The causal-historical theory in turn has customarily been pigeonholed as the 'new' theories of reference that have been emerging since the 1950s (Devitt 1981; Donellan 1966; Kripke 1980; Marcus 1950; Putnam (...) 1973). Among those who have seen Peirce as such a precursor of the new theory of reference are DiLeo (1997), Hilpinen (1995), Maddalena (2006), Pape (1987), and Thibaud (1987). Related recent publications on the .. (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)
There is growing body of knowledge about how humans and animals perceive col- ours; we may safely say that both physiology and physics of colour perception are becoming less and less mysterious. Still it doesn't help to solve a philosophical puzzle: What do exactly mean expressions like “perceived red” or “perceived green”? What do perceived colours refer to in the world? There are three problem fields I am touching on in this paper: (i) semantics of colour names, (ii) ontological (...) status of colours, (iii) cognitive relevance of colours. I am trying to formulate onto- logical and epistemological assumptions for semantics of colour names. I am espe- cially focused on classical problem of objectivity of colours. While pursuing my task I am making some critical remarks about Wittgenstein's views on colours as formulated in “Tractatus” and modified in “Remarks on Colours”. I am using. (shrink)
The interlocutors of Plato’s Cratylus agree that “it is far better to learn and to inquire from the things themselves than from their names” (439b6–8). Although surprisingly little attention has been paid to these remarks, at least some commentators view Plato as articulating a preference for direct, nonlinguistic cognitive access to the objects of inquiry. Another commentator takes Plato simply to recommend first-hand, yet linguistic, experience in addition to instruction from experts. This paper defends, in contrast to both (...) interpretations, the view that inquiry without names is dialectical, linguistic inquiry into metaphysical first principles. As such, inquiry without names is (logically) prior to inquiry from or through names. Inquiry without names is a form of transcendental metaphysics. (shrink)
It has been suggested that the theory of reference advanced by Kripke and Putnam implies, or presupposes, an aristotelian vision of natural kinds and essences. I argue that what is in fact established is that there are degrees of naturalness among kinds. A parallel argument shows that there are degrees of naturalness among individuals. A subsidiary theme of the paper is that the definition of "natural kind term" as "rigid designator of a natural kind" is mistaken. Names and natural (...) kind terms are defined by ostension to a spatiotemporal part of what they ostend. This helps us understand why 'Hesperus' and 'Phosphorus' are cognitively non-equivalent. (shrink)
In this paper, I criticize Mark Sainsbury's proposal concerning the semantic analysis of fictional discourse, as it has been put forward in chapter 6 of his Reference without Referents. His main thesis is that fictional names do not refer, and hence statements containing them are genuinely false and must be interpreted in terms of true paraphrases, arrived at on a case-by-case basis. In my opinion, the proposal has a problem derived from the fact that the relation between some problematic (...) examples -"Holmes is a detective", "Tony Blair admires Holmes"- and their suggested paraphrases needs to be clarified and further elaborated. /// En este artículo analizo críticamente el análisis semántico de los enunciados que contienen nombres de ficción propuesto por Mark Sainsbury en el capítulo 6 de su libro Reference without Referents. Su tesis principal es que los nombres de ficción carecen de referentes y, por lo tanto, los enunciados que los contienen son estrictamente falsos y deben ser interpretados en términos de ciertas paráfrasis. En mi opinión, la propuesta tiene el problema de que la relación entre ejemplos problemáticos de tales enunciados, como "Holmes es detective" o "Tony Blair admira a Holmes", y las paráfrasis ofrecidas requiere mayor desarrollo y fundamentación. (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)
We present a uni!ed diagnosis of three well"known puzzles about proper names, based on a new view of the metaphysics of words and proper names in particular adumbrated by David Kaplan in #Words$. Exploring the analogy of words and viruses, we sketch an account of words as entia suc! cessiva, highlighting the crucial phenomenon of linguistic coordination. Understanding the famous puzzles as coordination failures, we think, brings to the fore important issues in the metaphysical foundations of direct reference. (...) Words, it turns out, can themselves play some of the roles modes of presentation have been called up for. (shrink)
This paper explores the idea that a name should be associated with a reference condition, rather than with a referent, just as a sentence should be associated with a truth condition, rather than with a truth value. The suggestion, to be coherent, needs to be set in a freelogical framework (following Burge). A prominent advantage of the proposal is that it gives a straight-forward semantics for empty names. A problem discussed in this paper is that of reconciling the rigidity (...) of names with seeming truths of the form “there might have been such a planet as Vulcan.”. (shrink)
It is argued that, contrary to appearances, description-names (e.g.: The Roman Empire, The Beatles, The Holy Virgin,...) do conform to Millianism, i.e. the view that proper names are directly referential expressions, referring regardless of whether the relevant individual satisfies some associated description or not. However, description-names name and describe. Some arguments supporting this peculiarity and a logic to handle description-names are proposed. It will be shown that the best framework with which to accommodate description-names is (...) a multiple-proposition theory, according to which a given utterance may express several propositions. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with the semantics of proper names from two different points of view. As everyboy knows, there is a standard account of the semantics of proper names - it is Kripke's account, essentially. And there is a certain amount of neuropsychological research on proper names, or on the mental representation, or processing of proper names -not too small an amount, at this point. There is a certain amount of evidence, and there are a (...) few theories, none of them regarded as definitive, if I read the state of the art correctly. It may be thought that such neuropsychological work is simply irrelevant to the concerns of semantics, and vice-versa. For semantics is concerned with the truth conditions of sentences per se, and neuropsychology has nothing to say about that; neuropsychology, on the other hand, is concerned with several mental performances involving proper names -retrieving them from memory, or using them as cues to a person's face- and with their place within semantic memory (in case they have a special place), and semantics has nothing to say about that. The truth conditions that semantics is after are defined on the ground of a metaphysical notion of truth, whereas the only notion of truth that can be relevant to psychology is an epistemological notion: i.e. psychology may be interested in, and may have something to say about the procedures by which we come to regard a sentence as true, not about the conditions on which it is "objectively" true. (shrink)
After presenting a variety of arguments in support of the idea that ordinary names are indexical, I respond to John Perry's recent arguments against the indexicality of names. I conclude by indicating some connections between the theory of names defended here and Wittgenstein's observations on naming, and suggest that the latter may have been misconstrued in the literature.
According to a recent suggestion, the names of gene taxa should be conceived of as referring to individuals with concrete genes as their parts, just as the names of biological species are often understood as denoting individuals with organisms as their parts. Although prima facie this suggestion might advance the debate on gene concepts in a similar way as the species-are-individuals thesis advanced the debate on species concepts, I argue that the principal arguments in support of the gene-individuality (...) thesis are much less compelling than the parallel arguments in the species case. In addition, I argue that the notion of biological function invoked in the gene-individuality thesis (selected effect) is not the one that biologists actually use when individuating genes. Contra the gene-individuality thesis, I argue that gene names refer to kinds, defined primarily (though not exclusively) by causal-role functions. (shrink)
The “School of Names” ming jia ) is the traditional Chinese label for a diverse group of Warring States (479-221 B.C.) thinkers who shared an interest in language, disputation, and metaphysics. They were notorious for logic-chopping, purportedly idle conceptual puzzles, and paradoxes such as “Today go to Yue but arrive yesterday” and “A white horse is not a horse.” Because reflection on language in ancient China centered on “names”.
Terms designating substances and kinds function grammatically much like proper names of individuals. This supports Ruth Millikan's theory, but it also poses the question of how we can understand the reference of kind terms when the ontological status of the kind term is uncertain or disputed.
There is evidence that children learn both proper names and count nouns from the outset of lexical development. Furthermore, children's first proper names are typically words for people, whereas their first count nouns are commonly terms for other objects, including artifacts. I argue that these facts represent a challenge for two well-known theoretical accounts of object word learning. I defend an alternative account, which credits young children with conceptual resources to acquire words for both individual objects and object (...) categories, and conceptual biases to construe some objects (notably people) as individuals in their own right and most other objects as instances of their category. (shrink)
Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but it's also in the language we use and everywhere in the world around us. In this elegant, witty, and ultimately profound meditation on what is beautiful, Crispin Sartwell begins with six words from six different cultures - ancient Greek's "to kalon," the Japanese idea of "wabi-sabi," Hebrew's "yapha," the Navajo concept "hozho," Sanskrit "sundara," and our own English-language "beauty." Each word becomes a door onto another way of thinking about, and (...) looking at, what is beautiful in the world, and in our lives. The earthy and the exalted, the imperfect and the ideal: things, spaces, high art, sounds, aromas, nothingness. Sartwell writes about handfuls of beautiful things - among them, a Japanese teapot and Diana Rigg as Mrs. Emma Peel, the pleasure in a well-used hammer and in pop music and in Vermeer's "Girl in a Red Hat." In Sartwell's hands these six names of beauty -and there could be thousands more-are revealed as simple and profound ideas about our world and our selves. (shrink)
Although naming biological clades is a major activity in taxonomy, little attention has been paid to what these names actually refer to. In philosophy, definite descriptions have long been considered equivalent to the meaning of names and biological taxonomy is a scientific application of these ideas. One problem with definite descriptions as the meanings of names is that the name will refer to whatever fits the description rather than the intended individual (clade). Recent proposals for explicit phylogenetic (...) definitions of clade names suffer from similar problems and we argue that clade names cannot be defined since they lack intension. Furthermore we stress the importance of tree-thinking for phylogenetic reference to work properly. (shrink)
In an article published in 2003, Klaus Jacobi—using texts partially edited in De Rijk's Logica Modernorum—demonstrated that twelfth-century logic contains a tradition of reflecting about some of the transcendental names (nomina transcendentia). In addition to reinforcing Jacobi's thesis with other texts, this contribution aims to demonstrate two points: 1) That twelfth-century logical reflection about transcendental terms has its origin in the logica vetus, and especially in a passage from Porphyry Isagoge and in Boethius's commentary on it. In spite of (...) the loss of the major part of the Aristotelian corpus, the twelfth-century masters in logic still received some Aristotelian theses concerning the notions of one and being via Porphyry and Boethius; on the basis of such theses, they were able to elaborate a sort of proto-theory of the transcendentals as trans-categorical terms. 2) That this theory is centred on the idea that there exists a particular group of names which have the property that they can be said of everything; this group includes "being", "one", "thing" and "something" (ens, unum, res, aliquid). Twelfth-century masters in logic try to question the (originally Aristotelian) thesis that these terms are equivocal, although they do not deny it completely. (shrink)
Recently, several philosophers of language have claimed that, at least in some respects, Peter Geach proposed a view about proper names that anticipated important features of the causal theory (or historical chain theory) that was later set forth by Saul Kripke and others. Quentin Smith, for example, in his essay, "Direct, Rigid Designation and A Posteriori Necessity: A History and Critique," says explicitly that "Geach (1969) ... originated the causal or 'historical chain' theory of names" (1999). In his (...) entry on "Proper Names" for the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Graeme Forbes speaks of the "Geach-Kripke historical chain account" of proper names. In this paper, I suggest that, while there are very clear affinities between Geach's view on proper names and that of Kripke, there are several important differences, differences that are significant enough for me to claim that Geach and Kripke do not share a single account of proper names. (shrink)
Hurford claims that empty variables antedated proper names in linguistic (not merely logical) predicate-argument structure, and this had an effect on visual perception. But his evidence, drawn from proper names and the supposed inability of nonhumans to recognise individual conspecifics, is weak. So visual perception seems less relevant to the evolution of grammar than Hurford thinks.
There are enormous differences between quantifying name-variables only, quantifying verb-variables only, and quantifying both. These differences are found only in the logic of polyadic predication; and this presumably is why Richard Gaskin thinks that they distinguish names from transitive verbs only, and not from verbs generally. But that thought is mistaken: these differences also distinguish names from intransitive verbs. They thus vindicate the common idea that on the difference between names and verbs we may base grandiose metaphysical (...) distinctions, and undermine Gaskin's idea that both names and verbs may be said to designate objects. (shrink)
Fear of public disclosure that will add to the humiliation of rape or other sexual assault is real for victims. In discussing this issue, cases for concealment and for disclosure are examined and suggestions are made for determining whether to publish names of victims.
The vast majority of biological taxonomists use the Linnaean system when constructing classifications. Taxa are assigned Linnaean ranks and taxon names are devised according to the Linnaean rules of nomenclature. Unfortunately, the Linnaean system has become theoretically outdated. Moreover, its continued use causes a number of practical problems. This paper begins by sketching the ontological and practical problems facing the Linnaean system. Those problems are sufficiently pressing that alternative systems of classification should be investigated. A number of proposals for (...) an alternative system are introduced and evaluated. The best aspects of those proposals are brought together to form a post-Linnaean system, and a comparison of the Linnaean and post-Linnaean systems is conducted. The final section of this paper considers not only the theoretical reasons for replacing the Linnaean system, but also the practical feasibility of adopting an alternative system. (shrink)
The paper deals with the topic of empty terms as considered in chapter six of Devitt’s book Designation. Devitt’s proposal is that a statement about fiction is (usually) implicitly preceded by a fiction operator roughly paraphrasable by “it is pretended that” or “in fiction”. The causal chain that forms the network for a fictitious name are not d(esignational)-chains, for they are not grounded in an object. Nevertheless, although the fictitious name does not designate, we could say that it stands in (...) some other referential relationship to the world: it ‘F(ictionally)-designates’. It seem that we could then state truth conditions of a F-sentence using F-designation: the F-operator direct us to look not for the designatum of name but for its F-designatum. The name (for example, “Napoleon” in War and Peace), though nonempty, is just like a fictitious name. In proposing that nonempty names in fiction refer to real items, I argue against the view that “Napoleon” in the War and Peace designates the famous general, Napoleon, and F-designates parts of War and Peace. The referent of F-designation is Napoleon, famous general, too. At the end of the paper I claim that Devitt, if he wants to remain a modal fictionalist, has to renounce the view of one-world metaphysics. (shrink)
In his Oratio Obliqua, Oratio Recta, Recanati maintains two main theses regarding meta-representational sentences embedding allegedly empty proper names. The first thesis concerns both belief sentences embedding allegedly empty names and (internal) meta-fictional sentences (i.e., sentences of the form “in the story S, p”)1 embedding fictional, hence again allegedly empty, names.2 It says that such sentences primarily have fictive truth-conditions: that is, conditions for their fictional truth. The second thesis is that a fictive ascription of a singular (...) belief, assigning to a certain metarepresentational sentence fictive truth-conditions, amounts to the factive ascription of a pseudo-singular belief, assigning to that very sentence factual truth-conditions as well. In what follows, I will first try to show that the first thesis is definitely correct only for a rather limited range of cases, i.e. cases of meta-representational sentences embedding absolutely empty proper names. Second, I will claim not only that that the notion of a pseudo-singular belief is not so clear as it may seem, but also that, for those cases for which the first thesis is correct, we do not really need the sentences involved to also have factive truth-conditions. (shrink)
One dimension of a comprehensive semantic and semiotic theory is its explanation of how a wide-variety of linguistic expressions designate singular objects (e.g., pronouns, demonstratives, definite descriptions, etc.). The bulk of scholarship on Peirce's theory of proper names has aligned his theory with the so called new theory of reference by drawing connections between proper names qua rhematic indexical legisigns (a kind of sign in Peirce's 10-sign typology) and various aspects of Kripke's theory of names.2 Recent scholarship (...) has navigated away from indexing Kripke-Peirce affinities and has begun the process of articulating a semiotic or pragmatic theory of names that is distinctly Peircean. For example .. (shrink)
The immediate purpose of this note is to provide counterexamples to François Recanati’s claim in Direct Reference that descriptive names (a name whose reference is fixed by an attributive definite description) are created with the expectation that we will be able to think of the referent nondescriptively at some point in the future. The larger issue is how to reconcile the existence of descriptive names with the theoretical commitments Recanati takes direct reference to have. The point of the (...) claim about the expectation of future knowledge of the referent is to make it plausible that uses of descriptive names are not literal, since a literal use ought to express a singular proposition rather than one involving a descriptive mode of presentation; it is argued that this route to reconciliation will not work. (shrink)
Metaphysicians often declare that there are large ontological differences (properties versus individuals, universals versus particulars) correlated with the linguistic distinction between names and verbs. Gaskin argues against all such declarations on the grounds that we may quantify with equal ease over the referents of both types of expression. However, his argument must be wrong, given the massive differences between first- and second-order qualification. Its only grain of truth is that these differences show up only in the logic of relations, (...) and not also in monadic logic. (shrink)
Bloom masterfully captures the state-of-the-art in the study of lexical acquisition. He also exposes the extent of our ignorance about the learning of names for non-observables. HCLMW adopts an innatist position without adopting modularity of mind; however, it seems likely that modularity is needed to bridge the gap between object names and the rest of the lexicon.
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 proper name 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 proper name. 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)
In this paper I describe a shift in Russell’s views on names from the time of “The Philosophy of Logical Atomism” to An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth. It is the burden of the paper that the shift arose because Russell saw an ontological and epistemological problem created by his previous account of names, and because he then tried to correct it, while simultaneously endeavoring to establish an account consistent with science. Two lines of argument are employed to (...) support this conclusion. In the first I cite the “Occam’s Razor” ontology of “Logical Atomism” and contrast it with the more fully developed ontology of the later work, incidentally citing the remarks of commentators such as Ayer. In the second line of argument I specifically adduce material designed to show the metaphysical and epistemic import of the change in view on the status of names, noting that the significance of the change goes far beyond mere usage of terms. Finally, in a subsidiary line of argument, I sketch Russell’s generally foundationalist approach to epistemology. (shrink)
We investigate an enrichment of the propositional modal language with a universal modality having semanticsx iff y(y ), and a countable set of names — a special kind of propositional variables ranging over singleton sets of worlds. The obtained language c proves to have a great expressive power. It is equivalent with respect to modal definability to another enrichment () of, where is an additional modality with the semanticsx iff y(y x y ). Model-theoretic characterizations of modal definability in (...) these languages are obtained. Further we consider deductive systems in c. Strong completeness of the normal c-logics is proved with respect to models in which all worlds are named. Every c-logic axiomatized by formulae containing only names (but not propositional variables) is proved to be strongly frame-complete. Problems concerning transfer of properties ([in]completeness, filtration, finite model property etc.) from to c are discussed. Finally, further perspectives for names in multimodal environment are briefly sketched. (shrink)
In the Cratylus, Soc rates discusses with Cratylus and Hermogenes the question of whether names are merely arbitrary or in some sense ‘right,’ that is, motivated by the nature of the things they designate. In this article, I examine Heidegger’s controversial project of unearthing archē Greek terms in the specific light of the Cratylus and the tradition of “Cratylisms” which it has fostered. Having demonstrated the underlying Cratylist tendencies behind Heidegger’s conviction in the inherent ‘appropriateness’ of many Greek keywords, (...) I point out some of the problems posed by this closet Cratylism for Heidegger’s conception of primordial language as well as his critique of the correspondence theory of truth. (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 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)
This article examines ḥikma as it was practiced by Ṣadr al-Dīn Shīrāzī, or Mullā Ṣadrā (d. 1640), in explaining the connection between the divine names and the attributes of God. This is done via a translation of the fourth part of his al-Maẓāhir al-ilāhiyya fī asrār al-ʿulūm al-kamāliyya [The loci of divine manifestations in the secrets of the knowledge of perfection]. Ḥikma, philosophy, as it is defined here, is the combination of rational demonstrations and spiritual unveiling. Shīrāzī’s philosophy is (...) a synthesis of Ibn ʿArabī’s school of metaphysical unveiling, the Ishrāqī school led by Suhrawardī, and the rational school of the Peripatetics. The text is translated here for the first time, and includes annotations. (shrink)