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Marián Zouhar - Against Descriptivism: On an Essential Difference between Proper Names and Definite Descriptions
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Slovak Academy of Sciences
Against Descriptivism: On an Essential Difference between Proper Names and Definite Descriptions
Saul Kripke’s attack on the so-called description theories of proper names – or descriptivism, for short – is still much discussed topic in the philosophy of language. The gist of it can be summarized in the following modal argument:1
A1. According to descriptivism, proper names are synonymous with definite descriptions associated with the names.
A2. If proper names are synonymous with the associated definite descriptions, the two kinds of expression are modally indistinguishable.2
A3. However, it is not the case that proper names and definite descriptions are modally indistinguishable because the former are rigid designators while the latter are, as a rule, non-rigid designators.
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