Student Type

Ph.D.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2015

Abstract

To solve Frege’s puzzle, I develop a novel theory of proper names, the “Two Indexical Uses Theory” of proper names (the “TIUT”), according to which proper names are used as indexicals. I distinguish two types of indexical uses: (1) ‘Millian’ uses on which a proper name merely refers (contributing its referent alone to the proposition expressed); and (2) ‘Conception-indicating’ uses on which a proper name both refers and conveys the speaker’s “conception of” or “way of taking” the referent at the moment s/he utters the name (contributing both referent and conception to the proposition expressed). Unlike Millianism, the TIUT is consistent with speaker intuitions about cognitive value vis-à-vis Frege’s puzzle about identity sentences and is consistent with speaker intuitions about truth-value vis-à-vis Frege’s puzzle about propositional attitude ascriptions. Unlike Descriptivism, the TIUT is not vulnerable to Kripke’s modal, epistemic, or semantic arguments because on the TIUT proper names are always used as rigid designators and lack descriptive meanings—instead possessing character (the sort of meaning borne by indexicals). Among theories of proper names, the TIUT is uniquely able to explain how co-referential name pairs such as ‘Clark Kent’/‘Superman’ can simultaneously have the following three properties: (a) rigidity, (b) lack of descriptive meaning, and (c) difference in semantic content. The TIUT explains the difference in cognitive value between identity sentences such as ‘Clark Kent is Clark Kent’ and ‘Clark Kent is Superman’ by demonstrating that they may be used to semantically express different propositions with identical modal profiles (unlike Descriptivism, according to which they would have different modal profiles). The TIUT explains the difference in truth-value intuited by ordinary speakers between propositional attitude ascriptions such as ‘Lois Lane believes that Clark Kent flies’ and ‘Lois Lane believes that Superman flies’ by demonstrating that they may be used to semantically express different propositions genuinely differing in truth-value, the former false and the latter true. The TIUT also solves Kripke’s puzzle by explaining how a rational and reflective agent might simultaneously believe P and ⌐P and why one may accurately and without inconsistency ascribe the belief both that P and that ⌐P to that agent. Hence, we may accurately and without inconsistency report Peter as both believing that Paderewski had musical talent and believing that he did not.

 
 

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