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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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Standard Name Meaning

Standard Name Meaning

Chapter:
(p.320) 13 Standard Name Meaning
Source:
Nondescriptive Meaning and Reference
Author(s):

Wayne A. Davis (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199261652.003.0013

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

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