• Michael
    7.2k
    or that her friend's father authored the incompleteness theorems?Michael

    I wonder, is there a difference between "my friend's father authored the incompleteness theorems" and "the author of the incompleteness theorems is my friend's father"?
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.3k
    I wonder, is there a difference between "my friend's father authored the incompleteness theorems" and "the author of the incompleteness theorems is my friend's father"?Michael

    Yes, there is a difference because the second sentence harbors a potential ambiguity. In some communicative contexts, it could be meant to refer, as a definite description, to whoever is the author of those theorems, or, in other communicative contexts, if could be meant to refer to the man, Gödel, who is widely credited with this authorship, rightly or wrongly. (For instance, the second sentence might be used by someone who knows who Kurt Gödel is but who temporarily forgot his name).
  • Snakes Alive
    228
    When I say "Steve wrote this book", am I referring to Steve or to Adam (albeit using the wrong name). I believe andrewk is saying it's the latter.Michael

    Steve, obviously. You have a mistaken idea about who wrote the book, and so said something about the wrong guy. You intended to say something about the author of the book, which is why you used the name of the man you thought was that author. But that doesn't mean that, because you were mistaken, the universe magically rearranges so that you said something else. What you said was, that Steve wrote the book.

    To suggest otherwise would be, ludicrously, to imply that 'Steve wrote this book' was a necessary, and so trivial, truth – of course the guy who wrote the book wrote the book. But that is not what you said. You said that Steve did, and he didn't.
  • Michael
    7.2k
    Steve, obviously. You have a mistaken idea about who wrote the book, and so said something about the wrong guy. You intended to say something about the author of the book, which is why you used the name of the man you thought was that author. But that doesn't mean that, because you were mistaken, the universe magically rearranges so that you said something else. What you said was, that Steve wrote the book.Stakes Alive

    But how have I come to refer to someone other than the author of the book? What is it about the name "Steve" that makes its referent someone other than the author? It can't simply be that the author's name isn't Steve because we can refer to someone using the wrong name (as I have done with you above). This is why my follow up question was regarding the situation where you know that Adam is the author but incorrectly believe that his name is Steve. In that situation, are you and I referring to the author (using the wrong name) or the author's brother when we say "Steve is the author"?
  • Snakes Alive
    228
    But how have I come to refer to someone other than the author of the book?Michael

    Because you referred to Steve, who isn't the author of the book.

    What is it about the name "Steve" that makes its referent someone other than the author?Michael

    Because "Steve" refers to Steve, who isn't the author of the book.

    This is why my follow up question was regarding the situation where you know that Adam is the author but incorrectly believe that his name is Steve. In that situation, are you and I referring to the author (using the wrong name) or the author's brother when we say "Steve is the author"?Michael

    In that sort of situation, I'd say you attempted to refer to Adam, but made a mistake, but if anyone catches your mistake, they can realize what you did and recover what you meant to say.
  • Michael
    7.2k
    In that sort of situation, I'd say you attempted to refer to Adam, but made a mistake, but if anyone catches your mistake, they can realize what you did and recover what you meant to say.Snakes Alive

    So somehow your intention when you tell me that Steve is the author fixes the referant of the name “Steve” when I then tell someone else that Steve is the author? How does that work?

    And what if at the same time someone who knows that Adam’s name is Adam and that Steve’s name is Steve but who falsely believes that Steve is the author tells me that Steve is the author? When I then say that Steve is the author am I committing your mistake of referring to Adam using the wrong name or the other person’s mistake of referring to the author’s brother?
  • Dfpolis
    325
    Good point. So, we can agree that the real world is logically prior to any possible world. — Dfpolis

    Not logically prior (logically, all worlds are on par, it's the metaphysics where the differences come, e.g. being actual). It's prior in the sense that it's the world I start with and possibility will often be understood with respect to it.
    MindForged

    Logical priority is does not relate to epistic value. It is about the flow of information. In a sound syllogism, the conclusion has as much epistic value as the premises, but the premises are logically prior because they are the ground for the conclusion.

    So, when you say "if the laws of physics were different," you are excluding from S any proposition specifying the actual laws of physics, the evidence leading us to them and their implications. Thus, my definition is perfectly suited to your example. — Dfpolis

    Can you clarify? I can't understand what you're saying here.
    MindForged

    Yes. Let me work with the latest version of my definition because, while the idea is the same, the formulation is clearer:

    p is possible with respect to a set of propositions, S, if p does not contradict the propositions of S.

    If we don't specify the kind of possibility, we usually mean that p is possible given all I know. Then S = {propositions expressing facts I know}. In your example, S = {propositions expressing facts I know} - {propositions expressing or implying the actual laws of physics} + {propositions expressing your alternate laws of physics}. I'm not sure if you want to assume your alternate laws, or judge their possibility. If you want to judge their possibility, they would not be included in S.

    Of course if I'm talking alternate laws of physics I'm excluding the actual laws of physics, that's a trivial observation.MindForged

    I am not trying to be complex, only to explain how my definition applies.

    Not all possibilities are, contrary to your definition, possible simply by being consistent with the set of facts of the actual world.MindForged

    That is why I have allowed S to be constructed however you wish.

    if, for example, God's existence is possible (that is, if God exists in at least one possible world) then we can prove in S5 modal logic that God must also exist in the actual world. ... I just picked a fun one (even if I don't think the argument is sound)MindForged

    Only if one assumes the validity of S5 modal logic. I have reservations relative to the axiom (◻A → ◻◻A & A → ◻◊A).

    Since you think the "proof" is unsound, even you don't think it adds to our knowledge of the real world by the considering imagined worlds.

    "I see nothing to prevent me from being a doctor" ... — Dfpolis

    Because modal statements are not like non-modal statements. "I am a doctor" has obviously clear truth conditions (true when I am in fact a doctor). But modal statements are often (even usually) about the way the actual world is not. Even your own rendering of it is just sneaking in a modal notion. "Nothing to prevent me" is just a longer way of saying "it's possible that X" ("prevent" specifically is being used modally), which is the very circularity we are trying to avoid.
    MindForged

    My statement, "I see nothing to prevent me from being a doctor," is not modal. It simply describes my state of knowledge -- a purely categorical assertion. In your argument for why my use of "prevent" is modal, you leave out the words ("I see nothing") that make my statement a categorical description of my state of knowledge. There is nothing counterfactual in it.

    But, even if it were modal, I have defined "possible" independently of imagined worlds.

    There's no assumption that any arbitrary world is consistent. In fact, world which are not consistent are deemed impossible worlds. But this has no relevance in the use of PW semantics unless you think that it somehow renders various possibilities impossible.MindForged

    There is an implicit assumption. The only world we know to be self-consistent is ours. As soon as we engage in possible worlds talk, we assume that there are other self-consistent worlds when all we actually know is that there are other imaginable worlds. The situation only worsens when we assume that there are possible worlds with specific counterfactual attributes.

    "Our sensory representation of an object" is just another name for the modification to our sensory state brought about by sensing that object. What else can it be? — Dfpolis

    Our sensory apparatus is not the same as our sensory state (our perceptual experience). By assumption, our perceptual experience changes due to what our sensory organs being modified by the world and that's translated in the brain as our experience of the world. But that representation is in no way perfect and we can even tell that we miss a lot of what's out there.
    MindForged

    I did not say our sensory apparatus is the same as our sensory state, nor did I say our sensory representation is prefect. So, what that I actually said do you object to?

    We don't have a noisy connection so much as we have an experience of a representation of a partially received phone call from our mother.MindForged

    Did I say otherwise? I hold that all human knowledge is a projection (a dimensionally diminished map) of reality.

    I've explained many times now that since they are not actual, possible worlds aren't "there." I've made it clear that their only existence is intentional -- the unparsimonious imaginings of overwrought philosophical minds. — Dfpolis

    You're changing the argument again. Just previously your criticism was that W being a possible world was what made it possible that P (not true). Look:

    It is the name of the concept because the employment of the tool requires one to construct, or at least recognize, worlds that are possible.
    MindForged

    I never defined possibility in terms of a world being possible. Also, to say that "possible" worlds are imagined is compatible with saying are constructs. The recognition i referred to is of other's imaginings or constructs.

    you've got it way wrong. If P is false at a world W, P is still possible so long as there is at least one accessible world W* (determined by the accessibility relation of the modal logic in use) that can be reached from world W. And to say appealing to modal logic is a misdirection is frigging ridiculous. The whole point of PW semantics is to give semantics to modal logic.MindForged

    We are not talking about being false in an imagined world, but about being false in the actual world. These are not equivalent, as the actual world informs us, while we inform the imagined world. Further, no imagined world is "accessible," except in our imagination. The only way to "reach" an imagined world from the actual world is via imagination.

    I stand by my claim that, when discussing what is actual, appealing to modal logic is irrelevant misdirection and distraction.

    "Venus" picks out multiple objects (one real, many imagined) and so it is a universal, not a proper name. The only alternative is to say that an imagined Venus is numerically identical with the actual Venus -- but to say this is to deny the difference between reality and fiction. — Dfpolis

    No, Venus is a name for an object in the actual world. We surely agree on this. What Venus's in other possible worlds are, are simply variations on Venus in, essentially, different situations; it's still the same underlying object.
    MindForged

    Yes, in reference to the actual world considered in isolation, "Venus" is a proper name. The problem occurs when you talk about alternate Venuses (or is it "Veni"?)

    The essential question is: Is the imagined Venus identical with the actual Venus or not? If it is, then there is no difference between the imagined and real Venus, and all of their properties are identical. If it is not, "Venus" is predicated universally, and not as a proper name. I see no other option, do you?

    Let's ask: What is the count of Venuses? If each has different properties, we can tell them apart and assign different integers to each. So, their count is more than 1, whether they reflect one underlying object or not. So, "Venus" is a universal, not a proper name.

    There may be only one Venus in each imagined world, but, when we consider multiple worlds at the same time, "Venus" has multiple referents, which means that "Venus" is universally predicated.

    What is designated by proper names is fixed across worldsMindForged

    Is this a faith claim, a hypothesis, an arbitrary stipulation, or the supposed conclusion some argument?

    As I have pointed out, if it is fixed, it is either fixed by a well-defined sent of criterion, in which case it is a universal whose sense is specified by that criterion, or it is not -- in which case its reference is arbitrarily specified and of no objective import.

    But definite descriptions are just one way of seeing who or what a term refers to, but it could never give them meaning of what proper names are. If we simply call a new second planet Venus, that's obviously not the same Venus we were quantifying over when we made modal statements about the actual Venus.MindForged

    This does not resolve the issue. It only repeats the problem. How do we know which is the "new second planet"? Either the assignment is on the basis of a well-defined criterion, or it is by fiat.

    The possession of inclinations is actualMindForged

    Thank you.

    And inclinations certainly aren't like laws of nature.MindForged

    I agree. We have free will and human responses are too complex for single factor analysis. Still, the basis for saying "John would have enjoyed the trip, had he gone," is not the certainty that John would have enjoyed it (because we can't be certain), but his inclinations as revealed by past events. It does not need, nor does one normally use, the apparatus of possible worlds to judge <John would have enjoyed the trip>.
  • Snakes Alive
    228
    Which Steve? There are lots of Steve’s in the world.Michael

    The one you posited in the very example you gave.

    So somehow your intention when you tell me that Steve is the author fixes the referant of the name “Steve” when I then tell someone else that Steve is the author? How does that work?Michael

    No, "Steve" refers to Steve. This really is not hard. There's no transmissions of intention-fixing. The name has a conventional referent.

    And what if at the same time someone who knows that Adam’s name is Adam and that Steve’s name is Steve but who falsely believes that Steve is the author tells me that Steve is the author? When I then say that Steve is the author am I committing your mistake of referring to Adam using the wrong name or the other person’s mistake of referring to the author’s brother?Michael

    If you say Steve is the author, you have said that Steve is the author, not someone else. This is obvious.
  • Michael
    7.2k
    The one you posited in the very example you gave.Snakes Alive

    Why him and not any other Steve?

    No, "Steve" refers to Steve. This really is not hard. There's no transmissions of intention-fixing. The name has a conventional referent.Snakes Alive

    There are lots of people called Steve. And as I said before, you can refer to people using the wrong name. If I think that your name is John and tell some mutual friend that I’m having an argument with John, I’m not referring to some random John in the world but to you.

    If you say Steve is the author, you have said that Steve is the author, not someone else. This is obvious.Snakes Alive

    It isn’t obvious that I’m referring to the author’s brother.
  • Snakes Alive
    228
    Why him and not any other Steve?Michael

    Do you want to talk about this now instead? This is an orthogonal issue.
  • Snakes Alive
    228
    It isn’t obvious that I’m referring to the author’s brother.Michael

    The position that, when you say Steve is the author, you are referring to someone other than Steve, is ludicrous.

    You may, of course, have meant to refer to someone else, and made a mistake. And other people, on understanding your mistake, can understand what you meant to say, and so catch your drift. But that is neither here nor there; in such cases, that a mistake has been made (such as using the wrong name) is as much a fact as anything else.
  • Michael
    7.2k
    Do you want to talk about this now instead? This is an orthogonal issue.Snakes Alive

    It’s the very thing being discussed. I just have a book and someone says to me “Steve is the author”. Somehow when I repeat the phrase I’m referring to a particular individual who may or may not be the author and who may or may not be named Steve. How does a name I use refer to a particular person who is all but anonymous to me?
  • Snakes Alive
    228
    It’s the very thing being discussed.Michael

    It is not. Would you like to discuss, instead, the issue of how to determine, when using a name, which bearer of that name is meant?
  • Michael
    7.2k
    It is not.Snakes Alive

    It is. You know it’s Adam but think wrongly that his pen name is Steve (just as “Mark Twain” was a pen name). Someone else thinks that it’s the author’s brother Steve. A third person thinks that it’s some unrelated Steve. You all say to me “Steve is the author”. When I repeat this to someone else, who am I referring to?
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.3k
    It is. You know it’s Adam but think wrongly that his pen name is Steve (just as “Mark Twain” was a pen name). Someone else thinks that it’s the author’s brother Steve. A third person thinks that it’s some unrelated Steve. You all say to me “Steve is the author”. When I repeat this to someone else, who am I referring to?Michael

    When you are repeating to someone else that the author of the book is Steve, you are intending to use "Steve" in the same way in which whoever informed you of the author's identity (though naming him, in this case) used the name "Steve". If several persons who purportedly provided you with that information were using the name "Steve" differently (e.g. to refer to different 'Steve's), or mistakenly (e.g. to refer to someone not actually named Steve), then it may be the case that there now is a failure of reference when you are using this name. But this has little bearing on what it is that normally determines the reference of proper names when everyone who is party to the conversation intends to use proper names as rigid designators (as people normally do), and nobody is confused or mistaken.
  • Michael
    7.2k
    When you are repeating to someone else that the author of the book is Steve, you are intending to use "Steve" in the same way in which whoever informed you of the author's identity (though naming him, in this case) used the name "Steve".Pierre-Normand

    How do your intentions fix the referents of the words I use, especially when I don’t know your intentions?
  • Michael
    7.2k
    This causal theory of reference seems very problematic to me. Perhaps instead of telling me, the three of you write down “Steve is the author” on separate pieces of paper and I pick one at random. Somehow the referent of my claim that Steve is the author is determined by the intentions of whoever wrote on the paper I happened to pick?
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.3k
    How do your intentions fix the referants of the words I use, especially when I don’t know your intentions?Michael

    If you don't know how someone who uses a word intends to be using it, then you don't know what is being said by her. If someone tells you "Steve is the author of that book", it is reasonable to assume that she means to be using "Steve" as a proper name and that she knows who Steve is. (Or else, she might say that it is some guy named Steve but she doesn't know who that is.) If you further ask who Steve is, you expect that she will be able to point out to one specific "Steve" naming practice that distinguishes it from other "Steve" naming practices. For instance, she might say that Steve is her former roommate, and not her brother, say, who also happens to be named Steve.

    In fact, if you wouldn't ask her the followup question, then you wouldn't be in a position to repeat to someone else that Steve is the author of the book. The best you could do is to say that the author of the book is someone named Steve, you know not who.
  • Michael
    7.2k
    If someone tells you "Steve is the author of that book", it is reasonable to assume that she means to be using "Steve" as a proper name and that she knows who Steve is.Pierre-Normand

    I know that much. What I don’t know is who this Steve is, aside from allegedly the author. Is it someone whose legal name is Adam but who goes by a pen name? Is it Adam’s brother Steve? Is it some unrelated Steve? I don’t know this intention yet somehow it determines the referent when I use the name.

    you further ask who Steve is, you expect that she will be able to point out to one specific "Steve" naming practice that distinguishes it from other "Steve" naming practices. For instance, she might say that Steve is her former roommate, and not her brother, say, who also happens to be named Steve.Pierre-Normand

    And if I don’t or can’t do this? Perhaps it’s a historical figure who is only known for allegedly being the author of this book?

    Maybe there were two Homers. Are we referring to the one who wrote the poem or the imposter who pretended?
  • Michael
    7.2k
    Sorry, on my phone and quoted the wrong part in the first paragraph. Fixed now.
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.3k
    And if I don’t or can’t do this? Perhaps it’s a historical figure who is only known for being the author of this book?Michael

    There is a special convention in the case of names of famous people or historical figures where public uses of their names can be assumed to uniquely refer to them just by dint of them being generally known. In that case, all that's required, in case you don't know who that is, is to ask around, or look it up into encyclopedias or proper name dictionaries. When someone is being asked who did something and replies that NN did it, and doesn't volunteer any further information about NN, then there might be a presumption that NN is a famous individual or, at any rate, someone who she expect the inquirer to already know.
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.3k
    Maybe there were two Homers. Are we referring to the one who wrote the poem or the imposter who pretended?Michael

    This is a case similar to the case of Madagascar discussed by Gareth Evans. It makes trouble for Kripke's possibly excessively 'inflexible' causal theory of the reference of proper names, albeit not for his thesis that proper names function as rigid designators. If someone other than Homer wrote the Iliad and Odyssey, then it's possible that the meaning of "Homer" has shifted over time from its function to refer to the impostor to a new function to refer to whoever actually wrote the poems. That is, there might have been a time when the sentence "Homer wrote the Iliad and Odyssey" was conveying a false information about the individual then known as "Homer", who wrongly claimed credit for the work. And then, over time, the "Homer" naming practice that was being used to refer to this impostor completely died off, and hence room has been made for a new practice to emerge whereby "Homer" came to refer, albeit still rigidly, to whoever actually wrote the poems.
  • andrewk
    1.5k
    Is your claim that if someone says 'Gödel was a brilliant mathematician,' but if it turns out that Schmidt came up with the theorems, then what they said was that Schmidt was a brilliant mathematician?Snakes Alive
    Not quite. My claim is that if they said that because they believed Godel did the Incompleteness Theorems and that's all they knew about Godel then their intention was to praise the person who wrote the incompleteness theorems.
    Suppose Gödel was a fraud, and I say the above sentence. It turns out he is a terrible mathematician, and stole all his work from Schmidt. Was I right or wrong about what I said?Snakes Alive
    Again the question is too vague. Part of what you would have said was based on a misconception. Trying to classify natural language statements into two boxes - right and wrong - is way too crude.

    What about the real life version of this? Substitute Shakespeare for Godel and Francis Bacon for Schmidt. WHat do I mean when I say I love Shakespeare. Do I mean I love whoever wrote the plays attributed to S?
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.3k
    What about the real life version of this? Substitute Shakespeare for Godel and Francis Bacon for Schmidt. WHat do I mean when I say I love Shakespeare. Do I mean I love whoever wrote the plays attributed to S?andrewk

    This is tricky. (We are to assume that Francis Bacon is the author the plays being widely attributed to Shakespeare, right?) Your intention clearly is to convey your love for the plays being attributed to Shakespeare. Since you don't know that Shakespeare isn't the author of those plays, and you don't know that Bacon is, then you are making use of your false belief that Shakespeare wrote them in order to make reference to those plays. Thereby, what you are saying clearly presupposes the truth of this belief. It's unclear whether or not you actually said (regardless of your intention) that the plays that you love are those that have been authored by Shakespeare. But this sort of indeterminacy regarding the content of what you actually said stems from the abnormality of the situation, which messes up the conventional reference of "Shakespeare". See my discussion of Homer, above, for a related issue.
  • Snakes Alive
    228
    If you think that Adam's pen name is 'Steve,' and you try to refer to Adam using 'Steve,' then you have tried to refer to Adam, but messed up. Anyone who knows that this is not the pen name, but who knows who you were trying to refer to, can be charitable and recover your intention.
  • Snakes Alive
    228
    Not quite. My claim is that if they said that because they believed Godel did the Incompleteness Theorems and that's all they knew about Godel then their intention was to praise the person who wrote the incompleteness theorems.andrewk

    Of course their intention is to praise the person who wrote the theorems. That is why they pick a name that refers to a person who wrote them. The point is, they're wrong about who wrote them, and so accidentally refer to the wrong person.

    Trying to classify natural language statements into two boxes - right and wrong - is way too crude.andrewk

    In some cases, maybe. But not in this one: clearly, I was wrong. I don't think this is reasonably disputable.

    What about the real life version of this? Substitute Shakespeare for Godel and Francis Bacon for Schmidt. WHat do I mean when I say I love Shakespeare. Do I mean I love whoever wrote the plays attributed to S?andrewk

    Presumably, what you say when you say that you love Shakespeare, is that you love Shakespeare. This is the most obvious and best hypothesis; why you find the alternative, that when you say you love Shakespeare you say that you love someone other than Shakespeare, is a bit mystifying.
  • Michael
    7.2k
    If you think that Adam's pen name is 'Steve,' and you try to refer to Adam using 'Steve,' then you have tried to refer to Adam, but messed up.Snakes Alive

    There's no failing to refer to someone. You are referring to someone, just using the wrong name. Trump referring to his wife as "Melanie" in a tweet was Trump referring to his wife, not some other Melanie in the world (or nobody). You referring to Adam as "Steve" is you referring to Adam, not some other Steve in the world.
  • Pierre-Normand
    1.3k
    Presumably, what you say when you say that you love Shakespeare, is that you love Shakespeare. This is the most obvious and best hypothesis; why you find the alternative, that when you say you love Shakespeare you say that you love someone other than Shakespeare, is a bit mystifying.Snakes Alive

    I think you should allow that, in this imagined case, the conventional reference of "Shakespeare" might be construed to have shifted rather in the way the reference of "Madagascar" allegedly historically has shifted as a result of a widespread false belief. People who nowadays use "Madagascar" to refer to the island of Madagascar aren't thereby unwittingly making reference to something that isn't Madagascar just because "Madagascar" might have originally been used to name part of the African mainland; and something similar might be said about a shift in the use of "Shakespeare". None of this threatens in any way the thesis that proper names are rigid designators. The rigidity at issue is a rigidity across modal contexts, of course, and not a rigidity of conventional reference over time.
  • Snakes Alive
    228
    It depends on what you mean by 'refer to.' Clearly we can reconstruct who a person means to refer to using a word, and so in that colloquial sense, since their intention succeeds, and we know what they intended to convey, if we are charitable they do in fact convey this, and so in this sense they referred to someone.

    However, to leave it there is to be overly coarse – there is another sense in which they failed to refer to anyone, as can be seen when an interlocutor does not choose to be charitable, and says 'who the hell is Melanie/Steve?' If you do not make this distinction, then you can in fact make no sense of the simple fact that the speaker used the wrong name. For if we refer to whoever we intend to refer to simpliciter, in what sense are there ever wrong names, so long as the speaker's intensions are clear to himself?
  • Michael
    7.2k
    It depends on what you mean by 'refer to.' Clearly we can reconstruct who a person means to refer to using a word, and so in that colloquial sense, since their intention succeeds, and we know what they intended to convey, if we are charitable they do in fact convey this, and so in this sense they referred to someone.

    However, to leave it there is to be overly coarse – there is another sense in which they failed to refer to anyone, as can be seen when an interlocutor does not choose to be charitable, and says 'who the hell is Melanie/Steve?' If you do not make this distinction, then you can in fact make no sense of the simple fact that the speaker used the wrong name. For if we refer to whoever we intend to refer to simpliciter, in what sense are there ever wrong names, so long as the speaker's intensions are clear to himself?
    Snakes Alive

    If I don't know the author of the book or Trump's wife then I won't know if referring to them as "Steve" or "Melanie" is a mistake or not, so the above distinction isn't one that can play a role when it comes to who I am referring to when I repeat the claims "Steve is the author" and "Melanie is Trump's wife".

    Maybe as a different example, let's say that I tell you (truthfully) that I have a brother and also (maybe truthfully, maybe falsely) that his name is Andrew. Surely you can refer to my brother using the name "Andrew" even if his name isn't Andrew. This sort of thing happens all the time, e.g. in news stories where the subject's real name is to be hidden for whatever reason. It doesn't make a difference if the wrong name is intentional or mistaken.
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