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Philosophical Approaches to Proper Names


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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Dolf Rami - Names, Naming and Name-Using Practices


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Dolf Rami

University of Göttingen

Names, Naming and Name-Using Practices

1. Introduction: Sainsbury’s development of Kripke’s picture of reference

In Naming and Necessity Kripke introduced a currently still popular picture of the determination of the reference of a proper name. In the following two passages, he provides a brief outline of this picture:

A rough statement of a theory might be the following: An initial ‘baptism’ takes place. Here the object may be named by ostension, or the reference of the name may be fixed by a description. When the name is ‘passed from link to link’, the receiver of the name must, I think, intend when he learns it to use it with the same reference as the man from whom he heard it. (Kripke 1980: 96)

In the case of proper names, the reference can be fixed in various ways. In an initial baptism it is typically fixed by an ostension or a description. Otherwise, the reference is usually determined by a chain, passing the name from link to link. (Kripke 1980: 135)

Several philosophers have tried to develop Kripke’s “rough statement of a theory” into an elaborated theory about the determination of the reference of a proper name.1 Sainsbury is, in my opinion, not only the most recent notable example of this sort, but also the most detailed and developed of these accounts. He proposed the following generalisation and...

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