Proper Names and Propositional Attitudes


Authors
Seyed Mohammad Yarandi
University of California at Santa Barbara
Abstract
The thesis concerns the semantics of proper names in the context of propositional attitude reports. The semantic contribution of names in the scope of attitude verbs famously generates a puzzle, known as Frege’s puzzle. In the thesis, different semantic theories of propositional attitude have been categorized based on their strategy to solve the puzzle. The thesis consists of two parts. The first part (chapters 1-4) critically surveys different solutions of the puzzle in the literature. The discussion of different theories and their shortcomings sets the stage for the second part. The second part (chapters 5-6) provides a new solution to the puzzle. The solution is based on a new theory concerning the mechanism of reference and meaning of proper names. The meaningful use of proper names is argued to require the satisfaction of a competence condition which is used to explain peculiarities of reference found in both their regular contexts, as well as in the context of propositional attitude verbs
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