The double life of names

Philosophical Studies 165 (3):1139-1160 (2013)
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Abstract
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
Keywords Philosophy of language  Names  Reference  Metonymy  Polysemy
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-0008-3
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References found in this work BETA

Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - Harvard University Press.
Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 431-433.
The Reference Book.John Hawthorne & David Manley - 2012 - Oxford University Press.

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