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Rigid Designation and Theoretical Identities$
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Joseph LaPorte

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199609208

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199609208.001.0001

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A Uniform Treatment of Property Designators as Singular Terms

A Uniform Treatment of Property Designators as Singular Terms

Chapter:
(p.64) 4 A Uniform Treatment of Property Designators as Singular Terms
Source:
Rigid Designation and Theoretical Identities
Author(s):

LaPorte Joseph

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199609208.003.0004

It would appear on face value that some, but only some, property designators submit to a rigid–nonrigid distinction — designators that are grammatically singular. The present chapter does not call into question the default claim that some terms, like ‘whiteness’ and ‘courage’, are or can be treated as bona fide singular terms subject to a rigid–nonrigid distinction. It challenges the default view that terms like ‘white’ and ‘courageous’, as grammatically predicative terms, have to be treated differently. They do not. A uniform treatment of property designators as singular is plausible and preferable to the dualist alternative from J. S. Mill, which treats some property designators as singular but others as merely predicative. The present chapter also argues that even if Russell's theory of descriptions is adopted, so that definite descriptions are taken not to be singular terms, there is a rigid–nonrigid distinction for definite descriptions.

Keywords:   Russell's theory of descriptions, Mill, Millian dualism, singular terms, predicative terms

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