Supplanting Linguistic Cartesianism

Howard Wettstein

in The Magic Prism

Published in print April 2004 | ISBN: 9780195160529
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835072 | DOI:
 Supplanting Linguistic Cartesianism

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The radical anti-Frege project begins with the rejection, on more or less empirical grounds, of one of its central notions, the cognitive fix idea. This chapter is a defense of the coherence of the thesis that reference might be cognitively unmediated – that reference might take place in the absence of a discriminating cognitive fix. The views of Mill on pure denotation and Kripke on rigid designation are discussed in support of the thesis that reference in the absence of substantive cognitive contact with the thing referred to is possible. The objection that Mill’s conception of names fails because real names have many bearers, a fact the Frege-Russell doctrine can easily accommodate, is considered and refuted.

Keywords: cognitive fix idea; denotation; Kripke; Mill; rigid designation

Chapter.  6889 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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