The indexical character of names

Synthese 114 (2):293-317 (1998)
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Indexicals are unique among expressions in that they depend for their literal content upon extra-semantic features of the contexts in which they are uttered. Taking this peculiarity of indexicals into account yields solutions to variants of Frege's Puzzle involving objects of attitude-bearing of an indexical nature. If names are indexicals, then the classical versions of Frege's Puzzle can be solved in the same way. Taking names to be indexicals also yields solutions to tougher, more recently-discovered puzzles such as Kripke's well-known case involving Paderewski. We argue that names are in fact rigidly designating indexicals. We also argue that fully developed, the direct reference theory's best strategy for solving the puzzles amounts to the adoption of the indexical theory of names – a move that we argue should be thought of as a natural development of the direct reference theory, and not as antagonistic to it.



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Michael Pelczar
National University of Singapore

Citations of this work

On the linguistic complexity of proper names.Ora Matushansky - 2008 - Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (5):573-627.
Names Are Variables.Anders J. Schoubye - 2020 - Philosophical Review 129 (1):53-94.
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References found in this work

The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by John Henry McDowell.
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.
Frege’s puzzle.Nathan U. Salmon - 1986 - Ridgeview. Edited by Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel.
Naming and Necessity.S. Kripke - 1972 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 45 (4):665-666.

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