Understanding proper names

Linguistics and Philosophy 33 (4):325-354 (2010)
Abstract
There is a fairly general consensus that names are Millian (or Russellian) genuine terms, that is, are singular terms whose sole semantic function is to introduce a referent into the propositions expressed by sentences containing the term. This answers the question as to what sort of proposition is expressed by use of sentences containing names. But there is a second serious semantic problem about proper names, that of how the referents of proper names are determined. This is the question that I will discuss in this paper. Various views consistent with Millianism have been proposed as to how the semantic referents of proper names are determined. These views can be classified into (1) description theories and (2) causal theories, but they can also be classified into (3) social practice theories, on which a name’s referent is determined by a social practice involving the referent, and (4) individualistic theories, on which the referent of the use of a name is determined by the speaker’s state of mind. Here I argue against social practice theories of the sorts proposed by Kripke and Evans and in favor of an individualistic approach to name reference. I argue that social practice is irrelevant to determining name reference and that, as a consequence, names have no meanings in natural languages. In the second part of the paper I motivate and propose a new form of individualistic theory which incorporates features of both description theories and Evans’s social practice theory.
Keywords Proper names  Names  Reference  Anaphora  Meaning  Semantics
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10988-011-9080-y
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
References found in this work BETA
Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford University Press.
Themes From Kaplan.Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard K. Wettstein (eds.) - 1989 - Oxford University Press, Usa.
Demonstratives.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
The Meaning of 'Meaning'.Hilary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.

View all 62 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
A Theory of Ordinary Proper Names.M. D'Cruz - 2000 - Mind 109 (436):721-756.
The Significance of Names.Robin Jeshion - 2009 - Mind and Language 24 (4):370-403.
On the Linguistic Complexity of Proper Names.Ora Matushansky - 2008 - Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (5):573-627.
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.
Recovering What Is Said With Empty Names.Gualtiero Piccinini & Sam Scott - 2010 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (2):239-273.
Proper Names and Their Fictional Uses.Heidi Tiedke - 2011 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (4):707 - 726.
The Neuropsychology of Proper Names.Carlo Semenza - 2009 - Mind and Language 24 (4):347-369.
Causality, Referring, and Proper Names.David S. Schwarz - 1978 - Linguistics and Philosophy 2 (2):225 - 233.
Reference and Response.Louis deRosset - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99999 (1):1-18.
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.
Added to PP index
2011-03-21

Total downloads
194 ( #23,331 of 2,199,425 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
9 ( #22,586 of 2,199,425 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature