Standard Name Meaning

Wayne A. Davis

in Nondescriptive Meaning and Reference

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9780199261659
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603099 | DOI:
Standard Name Meaning

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This chapter shows that the alternative to the Frege-Mill dichotomy follows directly from the refutation of Millian and Fregean theories: standard names have nondescriptive senses, which differ from the senses of descriptive terms like common nouns, adjectives, verbs, or definite descriptions. The evidence against Frege’s way shows that standard names have undefinable senses. This implies that they express basic concepts, which are either atomic or contain an unlexicalized atomic component. Evidence is also presented that proper names have non-indexical senses. Standard proper names can therefore be characterized as the primitive singular non-indexical words in a language. The subject concepts they express are typically acquired by abstraction or through communication. The concepts represent their objects directly and rigidly. While concepts expressed by standard names could be atomic, there is evidence that they consist of a general sortal concept combined with a nondescriptive, non-indexical individuating concept.

Keywords: nondescriptive sense; undefinable senses; basic concepts; atomic concepts; direct reference; rigid reference; sortal concepts; individuating concepts

Chapter.  14455 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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