Minimal Descriptivism

Aidan Gray
University of Illinois, Chicago
Call an account of names satisfactionalist if it holds that object o is the referent of name a in virtue of o’s satisfaction of a descriptive condition associated with a. Call an account of names minimally descriptivistif it holds that if a competent speaker finds ‘a=b’ to be informative, then she must associate some information with ‘a’ which she does not associate with ‘b’. The rejection of both positions is part of the Kripkean orthodoxy, and is also built into extant versions of the file-picture of reference. In this paper, I argue that the rejection of minimal descriptivism only follows from the rejection of satisfactionalism given certain implausible assumptions about the nature of competence with a proper name. I do this by showing that considerations internal to the file-picture - in particular the idea that competence with a proper name constitutes an ‘epistemically rewarding’ relation to its bearer - motivate an acceptance of minimal descriptivism.
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DOI 10.1007/s13164-014-0202-7
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References found in this work BETA

Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - Harvard University Press.
Names Are Predicates.Delia Graff Fara - 2015 - Philosophical Review 124 (1):59-117.

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Citations of this work BETA

Relational Approaches to Frege's Puzzle.Aidan Gray - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (10):e12429.
A Pragmatic View of Proper Name Reference.Peter Ridley - 2016 - Dissertation, King's College London

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