Names That Name Nothing

Adams, Frederick (2002) Names That Name Nothing. In: UNSPECIFIED Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society, pp. 8-10.


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Theories of direct reference maintain that names contribute their bearers to propositions expressed by sentences or utterances on occasions of use. On these theories, names contribute only their bearers and have no surplus meaning. The sentence "Wittgenstein taught school in Kirchberg� expresses the proposition identified by the ordered pair <Wittgenstein, having taught school in Kirchberg>. Whether theories of direct reference are correct is a matter of dispute. Kripke"s (1972) arguments against descriptive theories of the meanings of names were persuasive, but descriptive theorists have persuasively fought back (Stanley, 1997). In this paper, I will not attempt to settle the larger dispute between the two opposing camps, but will focus on the matter of what a direct reference theorist ought to say about names that lack bearers. In order even to be a contender in the larger dispute between referentialists and descriptivists, theories of direct reference must have a plausible story to tell about the use of names that name nothing in utterances and sentences both positive and negative.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: direct reference; Kripke, S.; Stanley, J.
Subjects: Philosophie > Philosophische Disziplinen > Logik, analytische Philosophie
Philosophie > Philosophische Disziplinen > Sprachphilosophie
Philosophie > Philosophische Journale, Kongresse, Vereinigungen > Wittgenstein Symposium Kirchberg, Pre-Proceedings > Kirchberg 2002
Depositing User: Stefan Köstenbauer
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2006
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2011 18:51

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