The double life of names

Philosophical Studies 165 (3):1139-1160 (2013)
  Copy   BIBTEX


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 names that do not have the surface appearance of a predicate. They show that the Predicate View can provide a unified account of these two uses and assume that the Referential account cannot. I propose an alternative view of names, the Polysemy View. This view allows one to resist the pressure to generalise from the cases with the surface appearance of predicates to all uses of names while nevertheless providing connections between the uses. On the Polysemy View names are not, in their core use, metalinguistic predicates. Names are predominantly referring expressions but they also freelance as metalinguistic predicates on occasion. They have a double life. This double life is possible because of the pragmatic and conventional connections between the two aspects of that life. My main aim in this paper is to show that the Predicate View is not the only view that can give a good account of apparently predicative uses of names. In addition, I offer some inconclusive reasons to prefer the Polysemy View over the Predicate View. My paper assumes a background framework that the Predicate and Referentialist Views share and I do not attempt to justify that framework. I ignore many other views of names (notably descriptivist views and relevance theoretic views) in order to focus on the debate between these two opponents



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,088

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Names as tokens and names as tools.M. W. Pelczar - 2001 - Synthese 128 (1-2):133 - 155.
Description-names.Eros Corazza - 2002 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 31 (4):313-325.
Some Remarks on an Implementation of the Burgean View of Proper Names.Yu Izumi - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 39:79-88.
The semantics of fictional names.Fred Adams, Gary Fuller & Robert Stecker - 1997 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 78 (2):128–148.
The neuropsychology of proper names.Carlo Semenza - 2009 - Mind and Language 24 (4):347-369.
On the linguistic complexity of proper names.Ora Matushansky - 2008 - Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (5):573-627.
Proper names and persons: Peirce's semiotic consideration of proper names.Eric Thomas Weber - 2008 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 44 (2):pp. 346-362.
The double life of double effect.Allison McIntyre - 2004 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 25 (1):61-74.
Fictional Objects.Gerald Vision - 1980 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 11 (1):45-59.


Added to PP

134 (#129,761)

6 months
6 (#252,172)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Citations of this work

Names Are Predicates.Delia Graff Fara - 2015 - Philosophical Review 124 (1):59-117.
Type-Ambiguous Names.Anders J. Schoubye - 2017 - Mind 126 (503):715-767.

View all 35 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Naming and Necessity: Lectures Given to the Princeton University Philosophy Colloquium.Saul A. Kripke - 1980 - Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Edited by Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel.
Semantics in generative grammar.Irene Heim & Angelika Kratzer - 1998 - Malden, MA: Blackwell. Edited by Angelika Kratzer.
Frege’s Puzzle (2nd edition).Nathan U. Salmon - 1986 - Atascadero, CA: Ridgeview Publishing Company.
Naming and Necessity.S. Kripke - 1972 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 45 (4):665-666.
The Philosophy of Logical Atomism.Bertrand Russell - 1940 - Open Court. Edited by David Pears.

View all 26 references / Add more references