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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 27 January 2022

Should Proper Names Still Seem So Problematic?

Should Proper Names Still Seem So Problematic?

(p.108) 6 Should Proper Names Still Seem So Problematic?
On Reference

Michael Devitt

Oxford University Press

What determines the reference of a proper name? What is the meaning of a proper name? Kripke presented a radically new “picture” in answer to the reference question. Andrea Bianchi claims that “forty years later, we do not possess a fully blown theory built on his picture.” This chapter presents such a theory based on developments of Kripke’s picture that Devitt made in Designation and elsewhere. Kripke did not answer the meaning question, but many influenced by him have adopted “direct reference”. Devitt’s own answer was that a name’s meaning is its causal mode of reference. This strikes many as a shocking idea. This chapter argues that it should not be. Interestingly, the idea has recently been urged, with much the same argument, by Kaplan. The reference and meaning of “descriptive names” are also discussed. The chapter concludes that proper names should not still seem so problematic.

Keywords:   causal theory, grounding, reference borrowing, partial designation, speaker-designation, conventional-designation, designation change, descriptive names, direct reference, meanings as causal modes of reference

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