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Content, Cognition, and CommunicationPhilosophical Papers II$
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Nathan Salmon

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199284726

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199284726.001.0001

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Are General Terms Rigid? (2003) *

Are General Terms Rigid? (2003) *

(p.100) 5 Are General Terms Rigid? (2003)*
Content, Cognition, and Communication

Nathan Salmon (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

It has been said that besides proper names and certain other singular terms, natural-kind terms and certain other general (non-singular) terms are rigid designators. If so, what do these general terms rigidly designate, and what would it be for a general term to designate non-rigidly? It is argued that contrary to popular opinion, some general terms rigidly designate kinds or similar universals, while some definite descriptions are general terms that are non-rigid designators, e.g., ‘the color of the sky’. It is shown that the opposing view is committed to implausibly positing extremely unlikely ambiguities in both components of a predicate like ‘is blue’. Robert May's reply is rejoined.

Keywords:   description, Robert May, predicate, rigid, Soames

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