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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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Eros Corazza, Dylan Hurry, Ryan Rafferty - On Naming: Frege Deconstructed vs. Perry Reconstructed

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Eros Corazza

ILCLI, The University of the Basque Country UPV-EHU, Donostia, Spain IKERBASQUE, Basque Foundation for Science, Bilbao, Spain Philosophy & Cognitive Sciences, Carleton University, Ottawa ON, Canada

Dylan Hurry

Philosophy, Carleton University, Ottawa ON, Canada

Ryan Rafferty

Philosophy, Carleton University, Ottawa ON, Canada

On Naming: Frege Deconstructed vs. Perry Reconstructed*

1. Introduction

Frege (1892) introduced the sense/reference (Sinn/Bedeutung) distinction allowing him to deal with problems pertaining to cognitive significance. When the Babylonians discovered that Hesperus is Phosphorus they made a significant scientific breakthrough. They expanded, to use Frege’s terminology, their knowledge. If the semantic import of each name is exhausted by their referent, we cannot, Frege argues, explain the difference in cognitive significance between utterances such as “Hesperus is a star” and “Phosphorus is a star”. Questions of cognitive significance must be explained by positing that each name comes equipped with senses, or modes of presentation. The sense enters the thought expressed by virtue of an utterance. Thus, “Phosphorus is a star” and “Hesperus is a star” express different thoughts. The same object, Phosphorus, can be presented in different ways insofar as ‘Hesperus’ and ‘Phosphorus’ express different senses. The senses associated with the names allow us to identify the referent. Therefore, the difference in cognitive ← 107 | 108 → value between ‘Hesperus’ and ‘Phosphorus’ must be accounted for at the level of sense.

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