Naming with Necessity (Part of the dissertation portfolio Modality, Names and Descriptions)

Dissertation, New York University (2007)
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In “Naming with Necessity”, it is argued that Kripke’s thesis that proper names are rigid designators is best seen as being motivated by an individual-driven picture of modality, which has two parts. First, inherent in proper-name usage is the expectation that names refer to modally robust individuals: individuals that can sustain modal predications like ‘is necessarily human’. Second, these modally robust individuals are the fundamental building blocks on the basis of which possible worlds should be conceived in a modal semantics intended to mirror the conceptual apparatus behind ordinary modal talk. The individual-driven picture is distinct from two views inspired by Kripke, direct reference theory and Millianism. The former covers only the first half of the picture, while the latter explicitly gives up on that half even, opting to remain neutral about what expectation expressions impose on the nature of their referents.
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