Direct Reference and Singular Propositions

American Philosophical Quarterly 37 (3):285-300 (2000)
Authors
Matthew Davidson
California State University, San Bernardino
Abstract
Most direct reference theorists about indexicals and proper names have adopted the thesis that singular propositions about physical objects are composed of physical objects and properties.1 There have been a number of recent proponents of such a view, including Scott Soames, Nathan Salmon, John Perry, Howard Wettstein, and David Kaplan.2 Since Kaplan is the individual who is best known for holding such a view, let's call a proposition that is composed of objects and properties a K-proposition. In this paper, I will attempt to show that a direct reference view about the content of proper names and indexicals leads very naturally to the position that all singular propositions about physical objects are K-propositions.3 Then, I will attempt to show that this view of propositions is false. I will spend the bulk of the paper on this latter task. My goal in the paper, then, is to show that adopting the direct reference thesis comes at a cost problems the view has with problems such as opacity and the significance of some identity statements; it comes at even more of a cost).
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