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Reference and proper names

Journal of Philosophy 70 (14):425-439 (1973)

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  1. Action Without Attention.Carolyn Dicey Jennings & Bence Nanay - 2016 - Analysis 76 (1):29-36.
    Wayne Wu argues that attention is necessary for action: since action requires a solution to the ‘Many–Many Problem’, and since only attention can solve the Many–Many Problem, attention is necessary for action. We question the first of these two steps and argue that it is based on an oversimplified distinction between actions and reflexes. We argue for a more complex typology of behaviours where one important category is action that does not require a solution to the Many–Many Problem, and so (...)
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  • On the Asymmetry Between Names and Count Nouns: Syntactic Arguments Against Predicativism.Junhyo Lee - 2020 - Linguistics and Philosophy 43 (3):277-301.
    The standard versions of predicativism are committed to the following two theses: proper names are count nouns in all their occurrences, and names do not refer to objects but express name-bearing properties. The main motivation for predicativism is to provide a uniform explanation of referential names and predicative names. According to predicativism, predicative names are fundamental and referential names are explained by appealing to a null determiner functioning like “the” or “that.” This paper has two goals. The first is to (...)
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  • Is There a Fact of the Matter Between Direct Reference Theory and (Neo-)Fregeanism?Mark Balaguer - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 154 (1):53-78.
    It is argued here that there is no fact of the matter between direct reference theory and neo-Fregeanism. To get a more precise idea of the central thesis of this paper, consider the following two claims: (i) While direct reference theory and neo-Fregeanism can be developed in numerous ways, they can be developed in essentially parallel ways; that is, for any (plausible) way of developing direct reference theory, there is an essentially parallel way of developing neo-Fregeanism, and vice versa. And (...)
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  • Fostering Liars.Paul M. Pietroski - 2021 - Topoi 40 (1):5-25.
    Davidson conjectured that suitably formulated Tarski-style theories of truth can “do duty” as theories of meaning for the spoken languages that humans naturally acquire. But this conjecture faces a pair of old objections that are, in my view, fatal when combined. Foster noted that given any theory of the sort Davidson envisioned, for a language L, there will be many equally true theories whose theorems pair endlessly many sentences of L with very different specifications of whether or not those sentences (...)
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  • Quinean predicativism.Michael Rieppel - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (1):23-44.
    In Word and Object, Quine proposed that names be treated as the predicate elements of covert descriptions, expressing the property of being identical to the named individual. More recently, many theorists have proposed a predicativist view according which a referential name expresses the property of being called by that name. Whereas this Being-Called Predicativism has received much attention in the recent literature, Quinean Predicativism has not. This neglect is undeserved. In this paper, I argue, first, that close appositive constructions suggest (...)
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  • In Defense of Donnellan on Proper Names.Antonio Capuano - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (6):1289-1312.
    Kripke’s picture of how people use names to refer to things has been the dominant view in contemporary philosophy of language. When it is mentioned at all, Donnellan’s view of proper names is considered the same as Kripke’s. It is certainly true that both Donnellan and Kripke rejected descriptivism about proper names and appealed to historical facts to determine whom a speaker is referring to by using a proper name. However, the relevant historical facts Kripke and Donnellan appeal to are (...)
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  • Serious Actualism and Higher-Order Predication.Bruno Jacinto - 2019 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 48 (3):471-499.
    Serious actualism is the prima facie plausible thesis that things couldn’t have been related while being nothing. The thesis plays an important role in a number of arguments in metaphysics, e.g., in Plantinga’s argument for the claim that propositions do not ontologically depend on the things that they are about and in Williamson’s argument for the claim that he, Williamson, is necessarily something. Salmon has put forward that which is, arguably, the most pressing challenge to serious actualists. Salmon’s objection is (...)
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  • In Defense of the Unification Argument for Predicativism.Sajed Tayebi - 2018 - Linguistics and Philosophy 41 (5):557-576.
    The unification argument, usually regarded as the main argument for predicativism about proper names, has recently been attacked by Robin Jeshion. According to Jeshion, the unification argument is based on the assumption of the literality of predicative uses of proper names in statements such as “There is one Alfred in Princeton.” In such a use, a proper name ‘N’ is used predicatively to denote those, and only those, objects called N. As Jeshion argues, however, there are many other examples in (...)
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  • Names, Identity, and Predication.Eros Corazza - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (10):2631-2647.
    It is commonly accepted, after Frege, that identity statements like “Tully is Cicero” differ from statements like “Tully is Tully”. For the former, unlike the latter, are informative. One way to deal with the information problem is to postulate that the terms ‘Tully’ and ‘Cicero’ come equipped with different informative values. Another approach is to claim that statements like these are of the subject/predicate form. As such, they should be analyzed along the way we treat “Tully walks”. Since proper names (...)
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  • Lexical-Rule Predicativism About Names.Aidan Gray - 2018 - Synthese 195 (12):5549-5569.
    Predicativists hold that proper names have predicate-type semantic values. They face an obvious challenge: in many languages names normally occur as, what appear to be, grammatical arguments. The standard version of predicativism answers this challenge by positing an unpronounced determiner in bare occurrences. I argue that this is a mistake. Predicativists should draw a distinction between two kinds of semantic type—underived semantic type and derived semantic type. The predicativist thesis concerns the underived semantic type of proper names and underdetermines a (...)
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  • On Being Called Something.Geoff Georgi - 2017 - Linguistics and Philosophy 40 (6):595-619.
    Building on recent work by Delia Graff Fara and Ora Matushansky on appellative constructions like ‘Mirka called Roger handsome’, I argue that if Millianism about proper names is true, then the quantifier ‘something’ in ‘Mirka called Roger something’ is best understood as a kind of substitutional quantifier. Any adequate semantics for such quantifiers must explain both the logical behavior of ‘Mirka called Roger something’ and the acceptability of ‘so’-anaphora in ‘Mirka called Roger something, and everyone so called is handsome’. Millianism (...)
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  • Names in Strange Places.Aidan Gray - 2017 - Linguistics and Philosophy 40 (5):429-472.
    This paper is about how to interpret and evaluate purported evidence for predicativism about proper names. I aim to point out some underappreciated thorny issues and to offer both predicativists and non-predicativists some advice about how best to pursue their respective projects. I hope to establish three related claims: that non-predicativists have to posit relatively exotic, though not entirely implausible, polysemic mechanisms to capture the range of data that predicativists have introduced ; that neither referentialism nor extant versions of predicativism (...)
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  • A Computational Learning Semantics for Inductive Empirical Knowledge.Kevin T. Kelly - 2014 - In Alexandru Baltag & Sonja Smets (eds.), Johan van Benthem on Logic and Information Dynamics. Springer International Publishing. pp. 289-337.
    This chapter presents a new semantics for inductive empirical knowledge. The epistemic agent is represented concretely as a learner who processes new inputs through time and who forms new beliefs from those inputs by means of a concrete, computable learning program. The agent’s belief state is represented hyper-intensionally as a set of time-indexed sentences. Knowledge is interpreted as avoidance of error in the limit and as having converged to true belief from the present time onward. Familiar topics are re-examined within (...)
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  • Can Minimalism About Truth Embrace Polysemy?Katarzyna Kijania-Placek - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):955-985.
    Paul Horwich is aware of the fact that his theory as stated in his works is directly applicable only to a language in which a word, understood as a syntactic type, is connected with exactly one literal meaning. Yet he claims that the theory is expandable to include homonymy and indexicality and thus may be considered as applicable to natural language. My concern in this paper is with yet another kind of ambiguity—systematic polysemy—that assigns multiple meanings to one linguistic type. (...)
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  • Name-Bearing, Reference, and Circularity.Aidan Gray - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 171 (2):207-231.
    Proponents of the predicate view of names explain the reference of an occurrence of a name N by invoking the property of bearing N. They avoid the charge that this view involves a vicious circularity by claiming that bearing N is not itself to be understood in terms of the reference of actual or possible occurrences of N. I argue that this approach is fundamentally mistaken. The phenomenon of ‘reference transfer’ shows that an individual can come to bear a name (...)
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  • Who’s Afraid of the Predicate Theory of Names?Stefano Predelli - 2015 - Linguistics and Philosophy 38 (4):363-376.
    This essay is devoted to an analysis of the semantic significance of a fashionable view of proper names, the Predicate Theory of names, typically developed in the direction of the Metalinguistic Theory of names. According to MT, ‘syntactic evidence supports the conclusion that a name such as ‘Kennedy’ is analyzable in terms of the predicate ‘individual named ‘Kennedy’’. This analysis is in turn alleged to support a descriptivist treatment of proper names in designative position, presumably in contrast with theories of (...)
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  • Complex Demonstratives.Josh Dever - 2001 - Linguistics and Philosophy 24 (3):271-330.
  • The Double Life of 'The Mayor of Oakland'.Michael Rieppel - 2013 - Linguistics and Philosophy 36 (5):417-446.
    The Fregean analysis of definite descriptions as referring expressions predicts that copular sentences with definite descriptions in postcopular position are invariably interpreted as identity statements. But as numerous diagnostics show, such sentences are frequently capable of receiving a predicational reading. A uniform Fregean analysis therefore won’t do. Things aren’t that simple, however. I show that descriptions which exhibit the structure [the + N + of + Proper Name] fall into two semantically distinct classes, and that the members of one of (...)
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  • The Double Life of Names.Gail Leckie - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (3):1139-1160.
    This paper is a counter to the view that names are always predicates with the same extension as a metalinguistic predicate with the form “is a thing called “N”” (the Predicate View). The Predicate View is in opposition to the Referential View of names. In this paper, I undermine one argument for the Predicate View. The Predicate View’s adherents take examples of uses of names that have the surface appearance of a predicate and generalise from these to treat uses of (...)
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  • On the Linguistic Complexity of Proper Names.Ora Matushansky - 2008 - Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (5):573-627.
    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 (...)
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  • The Indexical Character of Names.M. Pelczar & J. Rainsbury - 1998 - Synthese 114 (2):293-317.
    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 (...)
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  • Impure Reference: A Way Around the Concept Horse Paradox.Fraser MacBride - 2011 - Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1):297-312.
    This paper provides a new solution to the concept horse paradox. Frege argued no name co-refers with a predicate because no name can be inter-substituted with a predicate. This led Frege to embrace the paradox of the concept horse. But Frege got it wrong because predicates are impurely referring expressions and we shouldn’t expect impurely referring expressions to be intersubstitutable even if they co-refer, because the contexts in which they occur are sensitive to the extra information they carry about their (...)
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  • Keeping Track of Individuals: Brandom's Analysis of Kripke's Puzzle and the Content of Belief.Carlo Penco - 2005 - Pragmatics and Cognition 13 (1):177-201.
    This paper gives attention to a special point in Brandom.
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  • Proper Names and Their Fictional Uses.Heidi Tiedke - 2011 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (4):707 - 726.
    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 (...)
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  • The Mill-Frege Theory of Proper Names.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2018 - Mind 127 (508):1107-1168.
    This paper argues for a version of metalinguistic descriptivism, the Mill-Frege view, comparing it to a currently popular alternative, predicativism. The Mill-Frege view combines tenets of Fregean views with features of the theory of direct reference. According to it, proper names have metalinguistic senses, known by competent speakers on the basis of their competence, which figure in ancillary presuppositions. In support of the view the paper argues that the name-bearing relation—which predicativists cite to account for the properties that they take (...)
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  • Is There a Deductive Argument for Semantic Externalism? Reply to Yli-Vakkuri.Sarah Sawyer - 2018 - Analysis 78 (4):675-681.
    Juhani Yli-Vakkuri has argued that the Twin Earth thought experiments offered in favour of semantic externalism can be replaced by a straightforward deductive argument from premisses widely accepted by both internalists and externalists alike. The deductive argument depends, however, on premisses that, on standard formulations of internalism, cannot be satisfied by a single belief simultaneously. It does not therefore, constitute a proof of externalism. The aim of this article is to explain why.
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  • Designing Meaningful Agents.Matthew Stone - 2004 - Cognitive Science 28 (5):781-809.
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  • Against Magnetism.Wolfgang Schwarz - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (1):17-36.
    Magnetism in meta-semantics is the view that the meaning of our words is determined in part by their use and in part by the objective naturalness of candidate meanings. This hypothesis is commonly attributed to David Lewis, and has been put to philosophical work by Brian Weatherson, Ted Sider and others. I argue that there is no evidence that Lewis ever endorsed the view, and that his actual account of language reveals good reasons against it.
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  • The Meaning of “I” in “I”-Thought.Minyao Huang - 2018 - Mind and Language 33 (5):480-501.
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  • A Defense of Russellian Descriptivism.Brandt H. van der Gaast - unknown
    In this dissertation, I defend a Russellian form of descriptivism. The main supporting argument invokes a relation between meaning and thought. I argue that the meanings of sentences are the thoughts people use them to express. This is part of a Gricean outlook on meaning according to which psychological intentionality is prior to, and determinative of, linguistic intentionality. The right approach to thought, I argue in Chapter 1, is a type of functionalism on which thoughts have narrow contents. On this (...)
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  • Philosophical Investigation Series: Selected Texts on Metaphysics, Language and Mind / Série Investigação Filosófica: Textos Selecionados de Metafísica, Linguagem e Mente.Rodrigo Cid & Pedro Merlussi (eds.) - 2020 - Pelotas: Editora da UFPel / NEPFIL Online.
    Um dos grandes desafios da era da informação consiste em filtrar informações claras, rigorosas e atualizadas sobre tópicos importantes. O mesmo vale para a filosofia. Como encontrar conteúdo filosófico confiável em meio a milhares de artigos publicados diariamente na internet? Para ir ainda mais longe, como encontrar uma introdução a algum tópico com uma lista de referências bibliográficas atualizadas e que seja organizada por um especialista da área? Já que você começou a ler este livro, é provável que tenha ouvido (...)
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  • Como os Nomes Nomeiam: Um Passeio Filosófico Sobre a Referência.Sagid Salles - 2020 - Pelotas: UFPel.
    Uma das características mais interessantes da filosofia é sua capacidade de revelar problemas difíceis em lugares inesperados. É precisamente isto que ocorre com o caso dos nomes próprios. Usamos nomes cotidianamente para selecionar ou fazer referência a objetos particulares, e depois podermos dizer algo sobre eles. Talvez o leitor diga a um colega que gostaria de estar tomando um café em Paris, ao invés de gastar tempo lendo mais um livro de filosofia. Neste caso, estará usando o nome “Paris” para (...)
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  • Communication and Content.Prashant Parikh - 2019 - Berlin, Germany: Language Science Press.
    Communication and content presents a comprehensive and foundational account of meaning based on new versions of situation theory and game theory. The literal and implied meanings of an utterance are derived from first principles assuming little more than the partial rationality of interacting agents. New analyses of a number of diverse phenomena – a wide notion of ambiguity and content encompassing phonetics, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and beyond, vagueness, convention and conventional meaning, indeterminacy, universality, the role of truth in communication, semantic (...)
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  • Semantics with Assignment Variables.Alex Silk - 2021 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    This book combines insights from philosophy and linguistics to develop a novel framework for theorizing about linguistic meaning and the role of context in interpretation. A key innovation is to introduce explicit representations of context — assignment variables — in the syntax and semantics of natural language. The proposed theory systematizes a spectrum of “shifting” phenomena in which the context relevant for interpreting certain expressions depends on features of the linguistic environment. Central applications include local and nonlocal contextual dependencies with (...)
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  • Are Concepts Mental Representations or Abstracta?Jonathan Sutton - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (1):89 - 108.
    I argue that thoughts and concepts are mental representations rather than abstracta. I propose that the most important difference between the two views is that the mentalist believes that there are concept and thought tokens as well as types; this reveals that the dispute is not terminological but ontological. I proceed to offer an argument for mentalism. The key step is to establish that concepts and thoughts have lexical as well as semantic properties. I then show that this entails that (...)
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  • A Here-Now Theory of Indexicality.Gilbert Plumer - 1993 - Journal of Philosophical Research 18:193-211.
    This paper attempts to define indexicality so as to semantically distinguish indexicals from proper names and definite descriptions. The widely-accepted approach that says that indexical reference is distinctive in being dependent on context of use is criticized. A reductive approach is proposed and defended that takes an indexical to be (roughly) an expression that either is or is equivalent to ‘here’ or ‘now’, or is such that a tokening of it refers by relating something to the place and/or time that (...)
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  • The Structure of Propositions and Cross-Linguistic Syntactic Variability.Vasilis Tsompanidis - 2013 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy (39):399-419.
    In Jeffrey King’s theory of structured propositions, propositional structure mirrors the syntactic structure of natural language sentences that express it. I provide cases where this claim individuates propositions too finely across languages. Crucially, King’s paradigmatic proposition-fact ^that Dara swims^ cannot be believed by a monolingual Greek speaker, due to Greek syntax requiring an obligatory article in front of proper names. King’s two possible replies are: (i) to try to streamline the syntax of Greek and English; or (ii) to insist that (...)
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  • Frege, Perry, and Demonstratives.Palle Yourgrau - 1982 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 12 (4):725 - 752.
    'You ask me about the idiosyncrasies of philosophers? There is their lack of historical sense, their hatred of even the idea of becoming, their Egyptianism. They think they are doing a thing honour when they dehistoricize it, sub specie aeternitatis — when they make a mummy of it.'Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols.
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  • The Importance of Being Ernesto: Reference, Truth and Logical Form.A. Bianchi, V. Morato & G. Spolaore (eds.) - 2016 - Padova: Padova University Press.
  • Names Are Variables.Anders J. Schoubye - 2020 - Philosophical Review 129 (1):53-94.
    MILLIANISM and DESCRIPTIVISM are without question the two most prominent views with respect to the semantics of proper names. However, debates between MILLIANS and DESCRIPTIVISTS have tended to focus on a fairly narrow set of linguistic data and an equally narrow set of problems, mainly how to solve with Frege's puzzle and how to guarantee rigidity. In this article, the author focuses on a set of data that has been given less attention in these debates—namely, so-called predicative uses, bound uses, (...)
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  • A Hyperintensional Theory of (Empty) Names.Miloš Kosterec - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-19.
    This paper presents an original semantic theory of proper names that aims to cover both non-empty and empty proper names. According to the theory, proper names have simple assignable hyperintensions as their content. This content provides the referent for which the proper name stands. The paper further describes the role of the proposed content of proper names within the compositional semantics of problematic sentences. I stress the difference between the content of a sentence and the proposition denoted by that sentence.
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  • The Semantics of Mass-Predicates.Kathrin Koslicki - 1999 - Noûs 33 (1):46-91.
    Along with many other languages, English has a relatively straightforward grammatical distinction between mass-occurrences of nouns and their countoccurrences. As the mass-count distinction, in my view, is best drawn between occurrences of expressions, rather than expressions themselves, it becomes important that there be some rule-governed way of classifying a given noun-occurrence into mass or count. The project of classifying noun-occurrences is the topic of Section II of this paper. Section III, the remainder of the paper, concerns the semantic differences between (...)
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  • Between Singularity and Generality: The Semantic Life of Proper Names.Laura Delgado - 2019 - Linguistics and Philosophy 42 (4):381-417.
    Although the view that sees proper names as referential singular terms is widely considered orthodoxy, there is a growing popularity to the view that proper names are predicates. This is partly because the orthodoxy faces two anomalies that Predicativism can solve: on the one hand, proper names can have multiple bearers. But multiple bearerhood is a problem to the idea that proper names have just one individual as referent. On the other hand, as Burge noted, proper names can have predicative (...)
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  • The Naked ‘Duchess’: Names Are Titles.Roberta Ballarin - 2019 - Linguistics and Philosophy 42 (4):349-379.
    In her recent defense of predicativism for proper names, Delia Graff Fara proposes the following non-metalinguistic being-called condition for the applicability of names as predicates: A name ‘N’ is true of a thing if and only if it is called N. The BCC is supposed to hold for names only. In this essay I criticize Fara’s BCC by arguing that the word ‘called’ is ambiguous, and that the BCC holds only for the particular sense of ‘calling’ as naming. I revise (...)
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  • Descriptions Which Have Grown Capital Letters.Brian Rabern - 2015 - Mind and Language 30 (3):292-319.
    Almost entirely ignored in the linguistic theorising on names and descriptions is a hybrid form of expression which, like definite descriptions, begin with 'the' but which, like proper names, are capitalised and seem to lack descriptive content. These are expressions such as the following, 'the Holy Roman Empire', 'the Mississippi River', or 'the Space Needle'. Such capitalised descriptions are ubiquitous in natural language, but to which linguistic categories do they belong? Are they simply proper names? Or are they definite descriptions (...)
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  • On Problems with Descriptivism: Psychological Assumptions and Empirical Evidence.Eduardo García-ramírez & Marilyn Shatz - 2011 - Mind and Language 26 (1):53-77.
    We offer an empirical assessment of description theories of proper names. We examine empirical evidence on lexical and cognitive development, memory, and aphasia, to see whether it supports Descriptivism. We show that description theories demand much more, in terms of psychological assumptions, than what the data suggest; hence, they lack empirical support. We argue that this problem undermines their success as philosophical theories for proper names in natural languages. We conclude by presenting and defending a preliminary alternative account of reference (...)
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  • Concepts, Meanings and Truth: First Nature, Second Nature and Hard Work.Paul M. Pietroski - 2010 - Mind and Language 25 (3):247-278.
    I argue that linguistic meanings are instructions to build monadic concepts that lie between lexicalizable concepts and truth-evaluable judgments. In acquiring words, humans use concepts of various adicities to introduce concepts that can be fetched and systematically combined via certain conjunctive operations, which require monadic inputs. These concepts do not have Tarskian satisfaction conditions. But they provide bases for refinements and elaborations that can yield truth-evaluable judgments. Constructing mental sentences that are true or false requires cognitive work, not just an (...)
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  • Semantics and Discourse Representation.Richard Spencer-Smith - 1987 - Mind and Language 2 (1):1-26.
  • Against Predicativism About Names.Jeonggyu Lee - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (1):243-261.
    According to predicativism about names, names which occur in argument positions have the same type of semantic contents as predicates. In this paper, I shall argue that these bare singular names do not have the same type of semantic contents as predicates. I will present three objections to predicativism—the modal, the epistemic, and the translation objections—and show that they succeed even against the more sophisticated versions of predicativism defended by Fara and Bach.
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  • Perceptual Demonstrative Thought: A Property-Dependent Theory.Sean Crawford - 2020 - Topoi 39 (2):439-457.
    The paper presents a new theory of perceptual demonstrative thought, the property-dependent theory. It argues that the theory is superior to both the object-dependent theory (Evans, McDowell) and the object-independent theory (Burge).
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