Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Philosophy (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Otávio Bueno

Second Committee Member

Risto Hilpinen

Third Committee Member

Simon Evnine

Fourth Committee Member

Stephen Neale


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.


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