Reference, context and propositions [article]

Kai Yee Wong, University, The Australian National, University, The Australian National
2013
This thesis is a detailed investigation of a web of philosophical problems surrounding what I call Kripke' s Thesis: if proper names are directly referential then such identity statements as 'Hesperus is Phosphorus', which are constructed from two distinct but co-referential proper names, are necessary and yet a posteriori. Chapter 1 clarifies some confusions surrounding Kripke's view about rigidity (rigid designation) and his theory of naming. Problems concerning the scope interpretation of
more » ... idity, rigid descriptions, and Kaplan-rigidity are dealt with. My major claim is that the fundamental notion of Kripke's theory of naming is direct reference, not rigidity. In Chapter 2, I first establish the 'modal half of Kripke's Thesis. Then an objection against Kripke's Thesis is presented. The central claim of the objection is this: given that proper names are directly referential and that the proposition expressed by (e.g.) 'Hesperus is Hesperus' is a priori, 'Hesperus is Phosphorus' expresses the same proposition as 'Hesperus is Hesperus', and is therefore a priori. An attempt, based on a suggestion by Plantinga, to defend Kripke's Thesis is shown to be unsuccessful. In Chapter 3, it is first noted that the objection previously presented involves the assumption (T): 'a priori' applies primarily to propositions and derivatively to sentences. Then, on the basis of Stalnaker's semantic apparatus of propositional concepts, a two-dimensional account of a priority is developed. By rejecting (T) and embracing a sentence-relative view of 'a priori propositions', this account provides a defence of Kripke's Thesis. It is argued that this is not an ad hoc defence. In Chapter 4, attention turns to some problems concerning context dependence, a central feature of the two-dimensional account proposed in Chapter 3. Chapter 4 starts with the observation that the account seems to be committed to an indexical treatment of proper names. This prompts a demonstration of the compatibility of indexicality and rigidity. The demonstration, [...]
doi:10.25911/5d7789a641c9a fatcat:oohnjg3tjjgbva6zjjffkrg37q