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Andrea Bianchi

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198714088

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198714088.001.0001

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Names as Predicates?

Names as Predicates?

(p.211) 10 Names as Predicates?
On Reference

Ernesto Napoli

Oxford University Press

The claim that names of individuals (proper names) are predicates is supposedly justified by theory based on evidence. The evidence is that names of individuals sometimes occur in the plural and as a complement to a determiner or a quantifier. The theory is that when a name occurs in the singular and without a determiner, it occurs as a complement to a silent determiner. This chapter argues that even if we accept the evidence and the theory, there is no basis for thinking that the evidence is of predicative occurrences and hence for thinking that the theory supports the claim. The only available explanation of the capacity of a proper name ‘N’ to act as a predicate is that it is semantically equivalent to the ‘bearer of “N”’. Yet, ‘N’ is quoted in ‘bearer of “N”’, hence it is an argument rather than a predicate.

Keywords:   name, predicate, proper name, quotation

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