On Sense and Reflexivity

Journal of Philosophy 98 (7):351 (2001)
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Frege’s claim that proper names have senses has come to seem untenable following Kripke’s argument that names are rigid designators. It is commonly thought that if names had senses, their referents would vary with circumstances of evaluation. The article defends Frege’s claim by arguing that names have word-reflexive senses. This analysis of names’ senses does not violate Kripke’s noncircularity condition, and it differs crucially from related views of Bach and Katz. That names have reflexive senses confirms Frege’s own solution to his puzzle about the content of identity sentences, solves Kripke’s Pierre and Peter puzzles about belief ascription, and entails that bearerless names have meanings. Furthermore, names’ having reflexive senses explains why they designate rigidly.

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John Justice
Randolph College


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