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Nondescriptive Meaning and ReferenceAn Ideational Semantics$
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Wayne A. Davis

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199261659

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199261652.001.0001

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Fregean Theories

Fregean Theories

(p.294) 12 Fregean Theories
Nondescriptive Meaning and Reference

Wayne A. Davis (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines ‘Fregean theories’, which hold that the meaning of a proper name can, in principle, be defined using general terms or descriptions. The classical description theory holds that the meaning of every proper name N can be given by a definite description of the form ‘the (unique) F’, for some general term F that is purely descriptive. It argues that no Fregean theory is plausible for standard proper names, although the classical theory fits logically descriptive names like May 9th. Objections cannot be completely eliminated by making scope distinctions or using rigid descriptions, nor by using indexical or metalinguistic descriptions.

Keywords:   Fregean theories, classical description theory, definite descriptions, standard names, logically descriptive names, scope distinctions, rigid descriptions, indexical descriptions, metalinguistic descriptions, synonymous names

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