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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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Stefano Predelli - Millian Dubbings: A Double-Context Approach to Name-Types

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Stefano Predelli

University of Nottingham

Millian Dubbings: A Double-Context Approach to Name-Types

0. Introduction

This essay puts forth a theoretical framework inspired by a familiar picture of proper names. This ‘familiar picture’ is the conjunction of two claims: (i) a pre-semantic claim based on the idea of a dubbing, and (ii) a genuinely semantic claim to the effect that proper names are non-indexical devices of direct reference (hereinafter, for short, Millianism). The framework I propose combines these insights in what I call a Theory of Use for name-types, grounded on the idea of the evaluation of an expression-type with respect to two contextual parameters.

In section one, I develop the theme mentioned in (i) and I propose a formal rendering of dubbings, and relatedly of the use of name-types, focusing on the aspects that will be of relevance for my project. The semantic apparatus to which (ii) alludes is presented in section two, where I rehearse certain familiar features of the Millian theory of names. Sections three and four put forth the main protagonist of this essay: a Theory of Use for name-types, with the accompanying double context framework.

1. Pre-Semantics: dubbings and uses

It is a commonplace that sheer name-types are not the appropriate bearers of semantic properties—in particular, they are not the bearers of properties relevant at the level of truth-conditions. So, ‘Mary’ qua four-letter name-type may be employed so...

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