Alter Egos and Their Names

Journal of Philosophy 98 (10):531-552 (2001)
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Failure of substitutivity of coreferential terms, one of the hallmarks of referential opacity, is standardly explained in terms of the presence of an expression (such as a verb of propositional attitude, a modal adverb or quotation marks) with opacity-inducing properties. It is thus assumed that any term in a complex expression for which substitutivity fails will be within the scope of an expression of one of these types, and that where there is an expression of one of these types there will be failure of substitutivity for terms within its scope. I shall discuss a series of examples that have been thought to challenge this explanation by exhibiting failure of substitutivity of coreferential terms for positions not within the scope of any of the standard opacity-inducing expressions. If these examples are genuine, then the usual explanations of opacity are either incomplete – because there are sources of opacity other than those standardly identified, or completely mistaken – because the standardly identified expressions are not causes of opacity. I will argue, however, that the examples only exhibit failure of substitutivity of non-coreferential terms, and, hence, do not present a challenge to standard explanations of opacity

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David Pitt
California State University, Los Angeles


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