Empty Names

The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 6:57-66 (2000)
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Abstract

This paper explores the idea that a name should be associated with a reference condition, rather than with a referent, just as a sentence should be associated with a truth condition, rather than with a truth value. The suggestion, to be coherent, needs to be set in a freelogical framework (following Burge). A prominent advantage of the proposal is that it gives a straight-forward semantics for empty names. A problem discussed in this paper is that of reconciling the rigidity of names with seeming truths of the form “there might have been such a planet as Vulcan.”

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Mark Sainsbury
University of Texas at Austin

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