Singular Terms and Reference: Evans and "Julius"


Authors
Ron Chrisley
University of Sussex
Abstract
"Let us call whoever invented the zip "Julius"." With this stipulation, Gareth Evans introduced "Julius" into the language as one of a category of terms that seem to lie somewhere between definite descriptions (such as "whoever invented the zip") and proper names (such as "John", or "Julius" as usually used) (Evans 1982: 31). He dubbed these terms "descriptive names"1, and used them as a foil against which to test several theories of reference: Frege's, Russell's, and his own. I want to look at some tensions in the first two chapters of The Varieties of Reference, tensions in Evans' account of singular terms that become apparent his account of descriptive names in particular. Specifically, I will concentrate on his claim that although descriptive names are referring expressions, they are not Russellian terms (i. e., terms which cannot contribute to the expression of a thought when they lack a referent). A recurring theme in this paper, and perhaps its sole point of interest for those not directly concerned with how to account for singular terms, is an attempt to place the blame for Evans' difficulties with an aspect of his thinking and method which I have referred to as "anti-realism". This might be confusing, as the aspect I am criticising is often of a vague and general sort, more akin to the ancient idea that "man is the measure of all things" than to any of the technical modern positions for which the term "anti-realism" is now normally used. But to refer to this aspect as "Protagorean" would suggest that I am accusing Evans of having been some kind of relativist, which I have no wish to do. Furthermore, there are times when the aspect does take a form which has more similarities to than differences from conventional notions of anti-realism.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 54,715
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Thought and Reference.Kent Bach - 1987 - Oxford University Press.
The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford University Press.
Rigidity, Natural Kind Terms and Metasemantics.Corine Besson - 2010 - In Helen Beebee & Nigel Sabbarton-Leary (eds.), The Semantics and Metaphysics of Natural Kinds. Routledge. pp. 25--44.
Understanding Proper Names.Michael McKinsey - 2010 - Linguistics and Philosophy 33 (4):325-354.
The Paradox of Identity.William J. Greenberg - 1996 - Epistemologia 2 (2):207-226.
Reference, Contingency, and the Two-Dimensional Framework.Martin Davies - 2004 - Philosophical Studies 118 (1-2):83-131.
Names, Fictional Names, and 'Really'.R. M. Sainsbury - 1999 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 73 (1):243–269.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-12-22

Total views
27 ( #377,036 of 2,386,663 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #550,981 of 2,386,663 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes