Synthese 195 (1):197-223 (2018)

Rachel Goodman
University of Illinois, Chicago
A thesis I call the name-based singular thought thesis is part of orthodoxy in contemporary philosophy of mind and language: it holds that taking part in communication involving a proper name puts one in a position to entertain singular thoughts about the name’s referent. I argue, first, that proponents of the NBT thesis have failed to explain the phenomenon of name-based singular thoughts, leaving it mysterious how name-use enables singular thoughts. Second, by outlining the reasoning that makes the NBT thesis seem compelling and showing how it can be resisted, I argue that giving up the NBT thesis is not a cost, but rather a benefit. I do this by providing an expanded conception of understanding for communication involving names, which sheds light on the nature of communication involving names and the structure of name-using practices.
Keywords Singular thought  Proper names  Causal theory of names  Testimonial acquaintance
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-016-1202-1
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References found in this work BETA

The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford University Press.
Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and Other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
Literal Meaning.François Recanati - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
Reference and Consciousness.J. Campbell - 2002 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Cognitivism, Significance and Singular Thought.Rachel Goodman - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (263):236-260.

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