A Syncretistic Theory of Proper Names

In A. Bianchi, V. Morato & G. Spolaore (eds.), The importance of being Ernesto: Reference, truth and logical form. Padova: Padova University Press. pp. 141-164 (2016)
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In this paper, I want to show that, far from being incompatible, a Predicate Theory of proper names and the Direct Reference thesis can be combined in a syncretistic account. There are at least three plausible such accounts – one which compares proper names in their referential use to referentially used proper definite descriptions, another one that compares them in this use to demonstratives, and a third one which, although it is as indexicalist as the second one, conceives proper names in this use as a sui generis form of indexicals, indexinames. Finally, I will try to give both technical and substantive reasons as to why the third account is to be preferred to the other two.

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Alberto Voltolini
University of Turin


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