Naive Russellians and Schiffer’s Puzzle

Erkenntnis:1-20 (forthcoming)

Neo-Russellians like Salmon and Braun hold that: the semantic contents of sentences are structured propositions whose basic components are objects and properties, names are directly referential terms, and a sentence of the form ‘n believes that S’ is true in a context c iff the referent of the name n in c believes the proposition expressed by S in c. This is sometimes referred to as ‘the Naive Russellian theory’. In this talk, I will discuss the Naive Russellian theory primarily in connection with a problem known as Schiffer’s puzzle. Schiffer first presented the puzzle as an argument against the Naive Russellian theory. Schiffer’s argument proceeds in two steps. In step one, Schiffer argues that the Naive Russellian theory is committed to two principles regarding de re belief; the special-case consequence and Frege’s constraint. Then, in step two, Schiffer argues that the special-case consequence is not consistent with Frege’s constraint. Salmon and Braun reply to Schiffer’s argument that although the Naive Russellian theory is committed to Frege’s constraint, it is not committed to the special-case consequence. However, in this paper, I will argue with a new Schiffer-case that even if the Naive Russellian theory is not committed to the special-case consequence, it is still not consistent with Frege’s constraint. Concluding, I will discuss the possibility to reject Frege’s constraint within the Naive Russellian theory.
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DOI 10.1007/s10670-020-00218-3
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