Publication Date

2013-05-28

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2013-05-28

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Philosophy (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2013-05-16

First Committee Member

Otávio Bueno

Second Committee Member

Risto Hilpinen

Third Committee Member

Simon Evnine

Fourth Committee Member

Stephen Neale

Abstract

I defend a form of semantic pluralism about proper names. Proper names are, like pronouns, singular terms, and as such rigid and semantically simple. Though occurrences of proper names are often directly referential, I argue that proper names also – like pronouns – sustain anaphoric occurrences, in which case the work roughly in the manner of first-order variables. Instead of a unified theory of names in terms of their contributions to propositions expressed by sentences in which they occur, I argue that singular terms are unified in terms of a requirement that they take unstructured values, a requirement issued by compositional constraints associated with grammatical theory, and that these constraints are flexible with regard to the particular semantic values of occurrences of such terms. I develop a two-tier semantic framework to model the discourse contributions of such terms, and motivate a form of semantic two-dimensionalism that is more austere than most existing two-dimensional systems but that is nevertheless powerful enough to provide novel solutions to a range of traditional problems associated with singular terms, such as the problem of the contingent a priori, the problem of empty names, and – more tentatively – Frege’s puzzle.

Keywords

Proper Names; Singular Terms; Pronouns; Direct Reference; Rigid Designation; Semantic Pluralism

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