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Philosophical Approaches to Proper Names

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Edited By Piotr Stalmaszczyk and Luis Fernández Moreno

The articles in this collection focus on philosophical approaches to proper names. The issues discussed include abstract names, empty names, naming and name-using practices, definite descriptions, individuals, reference, designation, sense and semantics. The contributions show the importance and lasting influence of theories proposed by John Stuart Mill, Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, Donald Davidson, and Saul Kripke. Individual chapters assess traditional analyses and modern controversies, and contribute to the debate on proper names in contemporary philosophy of language.
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Luis Fernández Moreno & Piotr Stalmaszczyk - Introduction: Philosophical Approaches to Proper Names

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Luis Fernández Moreno

Complutense University of Madrid

Piotr Stalmaszczyk

University of Łódź

Introduction: Philosophical Approaches to Proper Names

Knowledge of high things is hard to gain;

and surely knowledge of names is no small matter.

Plato, Cratylus (384b)

The debates about proper names can be traced back to at least Plato’s Cratylus. However, the predecessors of the most important debates on proper names in the contemporary philosophy of language are J. S. Mill, G. Frege and B. Russell, even though most of their main theses concerning proper names are subject to various, and even conflicting, interpretations. In any case, contemporary scholars investigating proper names must adopt, at least as a background, a position regarding the views of those authors.1

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