Between Singularity and Generality: The Semantic Life of Proper Names

Linguistics and Philosophy:1-37 (forthcoming)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
In this paper I argue that the predicate view of proper names is mistaken. I first argue against the syntactic evidence used to support the view and against the predicativist's methodology of inferring a semantic account for proper names based on incomplete syntactic data. I also show that Predicativism can neither explain the behaviour of proper names in full generality, nor claim the fundamentality of predicative names. In developing my own view, however, I accept the insight that proper names in some sense express generality. Hence I propose that proper names - albeit fundamentally singular referential terms - express generality in two senses. First, by being used as predicates, since then they are true of many individuals; and second, by being referentially related to many individuals. I respond to the problem of multiple bearerhood by proposing that proper names are polyreferential, and also explain the behaviour of proper names in light of the wider phenomenon I called category change, and shown how Polyreferentialism can account for all uses of proper names.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
Archival date: 2018-11-13
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total downloads
22 ( #33,548 of 37,187 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
22 ( #15,786 of 37,187 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.