Research Project

Project title

Proper Names: Why Go Presuppositional?

Program

SASPRO

Project ID

1573/03/03

Duration

12.01.2016 to 31.12.2018

Researchers from the Institute

Opis projektu

The project NAMES is based in the philosophy of language but extensively draws on work in theoretical linguistics. If granted the opportunity, during the SASPRO Fellowship period, I aim to develop a presuppositional account of proper names that is superior to Saul Kripke’s proposal that proper names are rigid designators (keep their reference across possible worlds) as well as competing proposals that have recently been put forth in linguistics and philosophy. My starting point is a clarified and modified version of John Searle’s view that proper names are associated with clusters of descriptions: that there is a crucial distinction to be drawn between ordinary and extraordinary uses of proper names (the latter of which include, among others, negative existential claims and identity statements); and that in the ordinary cases (but not the extraordinary ones), the descriptive material in the cluster is presupposed rather than asserted. The crux of my presuppositional account is that in ordinary uses of proper names, the descriptive material is not featured in the truth conditions of the utterance; instead, the truth conditions plausibly feature the object only and the descriptions are part of what’s presupposed. And, more broadly, my aim is to couch these in a comprehensive theory of proper name meaning that accounts for not just truth conditions but also other components of meaning (which include various presuppositions), and specifies systematic connections among these components. With a suitably laid out view of presuppositions (which takes into account recent developments in linguistics), I aim to provide a theory of the meaning of proper names accounting for (among other things) uses like “There are three Marks living in our building” as well as fictional names in a way that is more unified and elegant than rigid-designation-based alternatives and other recent proposals.

Contact

Institute of Philosophy
Slovak Academy of Sciences
Klemensova 19
813 64 Bratislava, Slovak Republic
Tel.: +4212 5292 1215
E-mail: filosekr@savba.sk
Home page

Journal Filozofia

Institute of philosophy
Slovak Academy of Sciences
Klemensova 19
813 64 Bratislava, Slovak Republic
Tel.: +4212 5292 1215
E-mail: filofilo@savba.sk
Home page

Journal Organon F

Institute of Philosophy
Slovak Academy of Sciences
Klemensova 19
813 64 Bratislava, Slovak Republic
Tel.: +4212 5292 1215
E-mail: organonf@gmail.com
Home page