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The pragmatics of empty names

Dialogue 46 (4):663-681 (2007)

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  1. Russellians Can Have a No Proposition View of Empty Names.Thomas Hodgson - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (7):670-691.
    Russellians can have a no proposition view of empty names. I will defend this theory against the problem of meaningfulness, and show that the theory is in general well motivated. My solution to the problem of meaningfulness is that speakers’ judgements about meaningfulness are tracking grammaticality, and not propositional content.
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  • Recovering What Is Said With Empty Names.Gualtiero Piccinini & Sam Scott - 2010 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (2):239-273.
    As our data will show, negative existential sentences containing socalled empty names evoke the same strong semantic intuitions in ordinary speakers and philosophers alike.Santa Claus does not exist.Superman does not exist.Clark Kent does not exist.Uttering the sentences in (1) seems to say something truth-evaluable, to say something true, and to say something different for each sentence. A semantic theory ought to explain these semantic intuitions.The intuitions elicited by (1) are in apparent conflict with the Millian view of proper names. According (...)
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  • Pragmatics of No Reference.Seyed N. Mousavian - 2015 - Mind and Language 30 (1):95-116.
    According to Millianism, the semantic content of a proper name is its semantic referent. Many names, however, lack semantic referent; hence, so-called ‘empty’ names. Empty names raise various problems for Millianism. T.C. Ryckman, Fred Adams, Garry Fuller, Robert Stecker, Kenneth Taylor, and Nicole Wyatt, among others, have defended Millianism against these problems by appeal to pragmatics . I introduce Millianism and the problems raised by empty names for the view, then examine Pragmatic Millianism , its strength, its varieties, and why (...)
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  • Russellians Can Solve the Problem of Empty Names with Nonsingular Propositions.Thomas Hodgson - 2020 - Synthese 197:5411–5433.
    Views that treat the contents of sentences as structured, Russellian propositions face a problem with empty names. It seems that those sorts of things cannot be the contents of sentences containing such names. I motivate and defend a solution to the problem according to which a sentence may have a singular proposition as its content at one time, and a nonsingular one at another. When the name is empty the content is a nonsingular Russellian structured proposition; when the name is (...)
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  • Empty Names and Pragmatic Millianism.Seyed N. Mousavian - 2014 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (1):49-58.
    Millianism is the view that the semantic content of a proper name is its semantic referent. Empty names, names with no semantic referents, raise various problems for Millianism. To solve these problems, many have appealed to pragmatics, thus ‘Pragmatic Millianism’. Pragmatic Millianism employs the relation of association between names and descriptions as well as some pragmatic processes to substitute empty names with descriptions associated with. The resultant content should account for the intuitions raised by utterances of sentences containing empty names. (...)
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  • Securing Singular Thought About Merely Hypothetical Entities.Greg Ackerman - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (8):2193-2213.
    Although we are still in the dark when it comes to giving necessary and jointly sufficient criteria for what it takes to be thinking a singular thought, the paradigm cases are just ones where an agent is thinking about some particular object. When we erroneously think that Vulcan is a planet, our thought appears to be singular since it is, after all, about Vulcan. A promising way to explain this is to claim that there is something, a merely hypothetical entity, (...)
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