• Janus
    6.1k


    OK, but is it necessary that each and every individual predicate in the bunch that fits exactly one individual itself fits exactly one individual?
  • Banno
    3.7k
    If it doesn't, it's not a definite description.
  • Banno
    3.7k
    The actual first man to walk on the moon was Armstrong.

    It's necessarily true.
    frank

    SO in every possible world, Armstrong was first on the moon in the actual world.
  • Janus
    6.1k


    Perhaps I have been using the term 'definite description' in an eccentric way, but even if my definition of the term has been incorrect, it doesn't affect my argument because it doesn't follow that rigid designation is therefore independent of definite description on the 'orthodox' definition of the term.

    Consider the idea of rigid designation itself: it means, for example, that Richard Nixon is the man who was named 'Richard Nixon' on such and such a date at such and such a place by such and such group of people (parents, officials or what have you), but all of that is, by your own definition, a definite description. So rigid designation cannot be independent of definite description; however tightly or loosely you want to define the latter.
  • Wallows
    6.2k
    Counterfactuals are nice because they are based on facts. Those facts, which obtain in the present world could have been otherwise in another stipulated manner of the term.

    Facts don't have to obtain in another possible world to be real. They just are.

    If we feel inclined to say ontologically where one word has its designated meaning, then we can always refer to definite descriptions to elucidate the matter.
  • frank
    1.8k
    So rigid designation cannot be independent of definite description; however tightly or loosely you want to define the latter.Janus

    Not entirely. The two just aren't identical. We know this because an individual speaker has flexibility in the use of rigid designator.

    The knowledge of a definite description has to be somewhere among the members of the language community (if only historically).
  • Banno
    3.7k
    Consider the idea of rigid designation itself: it means, for example, that Richard Nixon is the man who was named 'Richard Nixon' on such and such a date at such and such a place by such and such group of people (parents, officials or what have you), but all of that is, by your own definition, a definite description. So rigid designation cannot be independent of definite description; however tightly or loosely you want to define the latter.Janus

    Removing this sort of thing is the point of (C), p.71
  • Janus
    6.1k


    But you haven't been able to explain how "such a thing" could be "removed" while still knowing who is being rigidly designated. Why not give it a go...in your own words?
  • Banno
    3.7k
    You do understand that I am not Kripke?

    Shall we continue to read his book? This thread is about his book. Perhaps he will enlighten us.
  • Wallows
    6.2k
    Can someone give a snapshot of where we are all on at the present moment? I'm on page 73 of the book.
  • Janus
    6.1k


    Fair enough, but if you think that he does adequately deal with this issue, why not enlighten us now, either by quoting the relevant section, or in your own words? Are you worried about inflicting a 'spoiler'?

    I mean it's not as if there has been much, or perhaps even any, shared systematic reading of and commentary on the book carried out in this thread so far.
  • Janus
    6.1k


    I agree. :up:
  • Wallows
    6.2k


    Good dear, the Donnellan criticism in the footnotes on page 85 through 86 would be a topic worthy of its own.
  • StreetlightX
    3.2k
    It's funny. People are saying things like - how can one possibly imagine a world in which Nixon does not have such and such and did not do such and such???

    One wants to say: tell me more about this person you can't tell me anything about.
  • Wallows
    6.2k
    One wants to say: tell me more about this person you can't tell me anything about.StreetlightX

    Plato's beard?
  • creativesoul
    3.6k
    Once we've already identified this 'Nixon', then and only then can we entertain circumstances that are alternative to the ones which are unique to this man, by virtue of using the name 'Nixon' as a means for retaining the identity.
    — creativesoul

    But so what? That doesn't mean that the rigid designator is independent of definite descriptions.
    Janus

    It is when positing possible worlds. The identity is without issue even when we stipulate different descriptions... which is part of what Kripke is pointing out.
  • Janus
    6.1k


    Yes, but the identity is only established by definite descriptions which are in accordance with the actualities of this world; so there is really no Independence of identity from definite description.

    Sure you can say 'imagine Nixon was a golf ball in an alternate reality', but you still need the definite descriptions that establish who Nixon is in this world in order to know who is the golf ball, so the fact you can say that Nixon could be any entity in some imagined possible world with whatever alternative definite descriptions you want to stipulate is really a trivial one without significance.

    You can say whatever ridiculous arbitrary thing you like about Nixon, (who can stop you!) in other words, and people will understand who you are talking about and what you are saying; but that fact doesn't mean much.
  • frank
    1.8k
    but that fact doesn't mean doesn't mean much.Janus

    It's externalism.
  • Banno
    3.7k
    They haven't seen it yet.

    The thesis I wrote more than thirty years ago argued in defence of Searle, somewhat along line adopted here by Janus. SO I have some sympathy, and an understanding of what it is like to be held in thrall by a philosophical picture. It took a while for it to sink in that what I was doing was an ad hoc defence of a defunct theory.

    I thought I would have to leave behind much of the analytic style of Austin and Searle that I had adopted. Certainly I had no truck with Kripke's causal theory - "it's causal" is what philosophers say when they don't know. I thought for a bit that Davidson's program was the answer. It probably wasn't until I had a chance to come to terms with Wittgentein's views on rules that I understood that any theory of meaning was going to be fraught.
  • Banno
    3.7k
    Are you reading the book?
  • Banno
    3.7k
    Yep - So I think we might ignore it. There is too much misunderstanding here for that side argument to be at all helpful.

    Unless you really want to?
  • Banno
    3.7k
    (4) : If the vote yields no unique object the name does not refer.

    Such a vote may not pick out a unique object; nor might it pick out any object at all.ANd yet the name still refer.

    Of interest here are the extension of the Godel example to cases in which no one found the incompleteness theorem, or in which the theorem itself is wrong, and mathematics is complete.
  • Banno
    3.7k
    Fair enough, but if you think that he does adequately deal with this issue, why not enlighten us now, either by quoting the relevant section, or in your own words?Janus

    It's not far ahead in my reading. Where are you up to?
  • Banno
    3.7k
    P.88-89 Why not, and perhaps this is what @Janus is suggesting, set up "Godel", that name, not as the man who discovered the incompleteness theorem, but as the man most folk think discovered the incompleteness theorem.

    The first reply is to apply the same sort of arguments seen before; the second is a bit different, and subtle. But I will have a go...

    The assertion is "Godel proved the incompleteness of arithmetic". Now for this will be true only if by "Godel", we are referring to Godel.

    But how does the idea that "Godel" refers to the person most people think proved the incompleteness of arithmetic get started, come to be what most people think, unless there is some other basis, distinct from "Godel proved the incompleteness of arithmetic", to pick him out and associate him with "the chap who proved the incompleteness of arithmetic";
    Otherwise all we will be saying is, 'We attribute this achievement to the man to whom we attribute it',

    Do we wish to conclude that Godel was not Godel before he discovered incompleteness? And yet if incompleteness is what picks him out, we are left with a vicious circularity.

    P.90 argues that he same sort of thing will occur should we replace "most people" with an individual, or select group, or what have you.

    And here he introduces the idea of a chain of reference, although for reasons of this circularity rejecting it as a way for the definite description theory of reference to escape. For in general we do not know this chain sufficiently well to be sure it contains no circularity.
  • Janus
    6.1k
    No, I wouldn't be commenting if this was strictly a 'reading' thread. I'm just happy to wait for the purported rebuttal(s) of the problem I had with the book when I read it as part of a course at Sydney Uni years ago. I read it then and found no cogent rebuttal. And on the basis of the memory of that I find I have little enthusiasm for wasting my time reading the book again. If I am mistaken that there is no cogent argument there then I am confident that I will eventually be disabused of that fallacy once you or someone else summons the energy or will to explicate, or even directly quote the relevant passages that embody, the cogent argument(s).

    I'll be interested to see if you can come up with the goods to back up your somewhat patronizing claim that I and/or others are "held in thrall by a philosophical picture". Of course in the broadest sense it's also seems true that any philosopher who holds to the opinion that their philosophical views are not a case of thralldom in one way or another is probably deluding themselves.
  • Banno
    3.7k
    I have been reading and writing systematically. Given that you do not recognise this, along with your misapprehension of the term definite description, I'm content that I am re-reading in at least some detail a quiet entertaining and provocative book.
  • Banno
    3.7k
    And now we get to what is usually taken to be the presentation of Kripke's own theory, of causal chains of reference. I will not copy it to here; it starts at p.91, the paragraph starting "But that's not what most of us do". Read it for yourself.

    I recall thinking "that won't do" when I first read it; but now I am struck by how weakly it is presented.

    Given recent discussions of looking at language rather than just theorising, I'm also struck by the similarity to the way Wittgenstein describes his various language games at the start of PI.

    Indeed, I am moved to suggest that this is not Kripke presenting a theory, so much as his describing how things are.
  • andrewk
    1.6k
    I'm just happy to wait for the purported rebuttal(s) of the problem I had with the book when I read it as part of a course at Sydney Uni years ago. I read it then and found no cogent rebuttal.Janus
    Did you post that problem in this thread? If so, could you please link to it? I've only dipped in and out of this thread, so I didn't see it and, now that it's 17 pages, I have no hope of finding it.

    I'm interested to see how much similarity there is to the problems I think I see in Kripke's analysis.
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