6 The Sense/Reference Distinction Revisited. Sense qua Identifying Descriptions. See Donnellan, 1970 “Speaking of Nothing” and Kripke, 1972 Naming and Necessity General assumption The sense of a proper name corresponds to a (several) identifying definite description(s). .
See Donnellan, 1970 “Speaking of Nothing” and Kripke, 1972 Naming and Necessity
The sense of a proper name corresponds to a (several) identifying definite description(s).
“In the case of genuinely proper names like ‘Aristotle’ opinions as regard their sense diverge. As such may, e.g., be suggested: Plato’s disciple and the teacher of Alexander the Great. Whoever accepts this sense will interpret the meaning of the statement “Aristotle was born in Stagira”, differently from one who interpreted the sense of ‘Aristotle’ as the Stagirite teacher of Alexander the Great. As long a the nominatum remains the same, these fluctuations in sense are tolerable. But they should be avoided in a perfect language.” (Frege: “Sinn und Bedeutung”)
See Donnellan 1970
For, if “Aristotle” meant the teacher of A. the Great, then saying “Aristotle was the teacher of A. the G.” would be a mere tautology. But this is something we could discover to be false.
So, being the teacher of Alexander the Great cannot be part of the sense of the name.
Since it is possible that one or some descriptions associated with a name turn out to be false, we have to introduce some vague notions such as “sufficient number of descriptions”, etc. (Cf. Wittgenstein on “Moses”; PI: § 79)
(1) what determines reference, and
(2) what is synonymous with the associated name
1. The speaker must be able to supply a set of no question-begging descriptions.
E.g.: the item I have in mind, the individual I intend to refer to, ... are question-begging descriptions.
2 thesis: the second stage depends on the first.. The referent of the name the speaker uses, if any, must satisfy the set of descriptions.
The relevant descriptions may be the ones the experts furnish (cf. Dummett’s public sense).
See Kripke 1972: 64-71
For any successful theory, the account must not be circular. The properties which are used in the vote must not themselves involve the notion of reference in such a way that it is ultimately impossible to eliminate.
See Donnellan 1970
It could also be that the name “Plato” refers to someone else who happens to satisfy the relevant descriptions.
[(5) The statement, “If X exists, then X has most of the ’s” is known a priori by the speaker.]
One can use these names to refer to the relevant individuals even if one is unable to furnish identifying descriptions of them.
See Kripke 1972
The designate the same object in all possible worlds (or counterfactual situations) where it exists.
If the object exits in all possible worlds (it is a necessary existent), the designator is strongly rigid.
They may change reference across possible worlds.
Unless a description picks out an essential property (e.g. mathematical descriptions such as “the successor of 3” which designates 4 in all possible worlds).
An individual, in a given possible world, may fail to possess the property(ies) picked out by the description(s) (unless the latter pick(s) out essential property(ies) of that individual) associated with the name (rigid designator).
Aristotle may not have been the teacher of A. the Great, Gödel may not have been the discoverer of the incompleteness of arithmetic, etc.
Descriptions may be used to fix the reference and not, pace Frege, to give the meaning of the name.
E.g.: Let’s call “Jack”, the man who committed all the murders. Being the murderer, though, is not an essential property of Jack.
Hitler might have spent all his days quiet in Linz. In that case we would not say that then this man would not have been Hitler, for we use of the name “Hitler” just as the name of that man, even in describing other possible worlds. (cf. Kripke 1972: 75)
[The statement, “If X exists, then X has most of the ’s” expresses a necessary truth(in the idiolect of the speaker).]
Sense cannot be equated with identifying descriptions.
J.-S. Mill: names have denotation but not connotation.
Dartmouth is called ‘Dartmouth’ because it lies at the mouth of the Dart, but even if the river changed its course so that Dartmouth no longer lays at the mouth of the Dart, we could still properly call this place “Dartmouth”. It is no part of the meaning of “Dartmouth” that the referent lies at Dart’s mouth.