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Consciousness and MeaningSelected Essays$
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Brian Loar, Katalin Balog, and Stephanie Beardman

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199673353

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673353.001.0001

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The Semantics of Singular Terms

The Semantics of Singular Terms

(p.48) 3 The Semantics of Singular Terms
Consciousness and Meaning

Brian Loar

Oxford University Press

Beginning with the Gricean assumptions that “semantical theory is part of the psychology of communication” and that “the sentences of a language form a system of conventional devices for making known communicative intentions,” Loar first defends the Fregean view that “the function of a singular term is to introduce an individual concept into what is meant or expressed on its particular uses” and then proposes that a name N is equivalent to the incomplete definite description “the thing or person called N.” In arguing for these views Loar shows, first, that Kripke’s Feynman and Gödel examples fail to take into account metalinguistic descriptions the speaker might associate with names and, second, that the Fregean theory Loar proposes is compatible with the behavior of names in modal contexts to which Kripke appeals in arguing that names are rigid designators.

Keywords:   Saul Kripke, rigid designators, description theory of names, communicative intentions, singular terms, Frege

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