• Banno
    3.7k
    5. The statement, 'If X exists, then X has most of the q' s'
    is known a priori by the speaker.

    Hm. Is it?
  • Banno
    3.7k
    6. The statement, 'If X exists, then X has most of the
    q' s' expresses a necessary truth

    so - in every possible world... There's the rub.
  • creativesoul
    3.6k


    Coming from one who prides himself on brevity...

    Thanks!

    :smile:

    I think I'm beginning to understand Kripke's take here... and his aim... but I'm still left feeling like there are some other well-known philosophical issues being addressed by him, and they are still, as of yet, unbeknownst to me. I'm certain of it, as a matter of fact.
  • Wallows
    6.2k


    I see! Thanks.
  • creativesoul
    3.6k
    Ok. Looks like we're on to the second lecture. I'm good with that, but just wanted to say one last thing regarding some ongoing disputes between several different participants...

    Alright, so some are thinking/believing that Kripke is offering an unconvincing 'argument'. I suspect that that belief is ill-founded. While I cannot deny that Kripke's paper is unconvincing for many an issue, I suspect that those are not the aim to begin with.

    For example, I see no reason whatsoever to think/believe that Kripke wants to completely separate definite descriptions from identity. He's not divorcing the two on all counts. He's just not. That much is clear because he repeatedly grants essential parts.

    Rather, he is divorcing essential parts from possible world semantics.
  • Banno
    3.7k
    (c) 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.

    No vicious circularity. No "Socrates is called 'Socrates'".
  • Banno
    3.7k
    I might go to this:
    It just is not, in any intuitive sense of
    necessity, a necessary truth that Aristotle had the properties
    commonly attributed to him. (p.74)

    It would seem that it's a contingent
    fact that Aristotle ever did any of the things commonly
    attributed to him today, any of these great achievements that
    we so much admire...

    Hitler might have spent all his
    days in quiet in Linz. In that case we would not say that then
    this man would not have been Hitler, for we use the name
    'Hitler' just as the name of that man, even in describing other
    possible worlds. (This is the notion which I called a rigid
    designator in the previous talk.)(p.75)

    Here he is targeting both Searle and Lewis.

    The supposition that Aristotle might have become a merchant and never contributed to Philosophy, is a supposition about Aristotle...

    The supposition that Hitler might have died in the trenches of the first war is a supposition about Hitler.

    And so on; the properties that we might include in our description of any individual are none of them necessary, and so cannot function to fix the referent across such suppositions. But that's not a problem because the proper name itself does the job for us.

    Hence, thesis six is false.
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k
    Then what are counterfactuals if not definite descriptions for events that could have happened otherwise?Wallows

    Counterfactuals are more like proposals that something could have been other than it was. We create them via imagining differences from facts, where that's constrained by some combination of what we believe about possibilities and what makes sense to us.

    Our conceptual criteria for particular concepts are important, too, which is what "rigid designation" is about, in that certain counterfactual proposals will result in us not considering some F an F any longer, because it would result in differences contra to what we require to call some x an F.

    What it conventionally is for a counterfactual to be true or false is for our proposal to actually be possible or not. That's different than whether we believe it would be possible.

    So "Roses could have been 24 inches in diameter" may be true.

    "There could have been a real person just like Superman in 1940" may be false.

    It just depends on what is actually possible.

    If only what exists is possible--that is, if everything is actually metaphysically necessary (and that would follow if determinism is true, for example--well, and it would require something like metaphyiscal rigidity for constants, too), then every counterfactual is false.
  • creativesoul
    3.6k
    Possible world semantics are existentially dependent upon thinking about one's own thought/belief. There's much groundwork already laid long before we begin carefully considering alternatives to what we already believe. Part of that groundwork is complex language acquisition itself. During such, we learn to use names to identify things, as well as a means for directing another's attention towards something, getting what we want, and perhaps for other purposes as well. We do all this long before we begin talking about possible world semantics. This already involves the use of definite description as a means of reference/identity.

    When there has never been definitive descriptions as a means for reference, there can never be talk of leaving them aside.

    Possible world semantics are existentially dependent upon definitive descriptions. When we're amidst language acquisition, we will further describe - in great detail - some thing to another person. We begin by using the name of that thing. Or at other times, we're describing - in great detail - the thing itself and we're looking to learn the name of it. The elucidation, either way, is meant to help us understand what it is that we're talking about. All of that happens before any discussion such as this one.

    I don't think that Kripke would deny any of this.

    There is no such thing as identity without definitive description until long after we've already known how to describe things as a means for identity.
  • creativesoul
    3.6k
    Sorry ladies and gentlemen...

    I'm going to retire from this one. I've struggled as much as I can take to set aside the fact that I reject possible world talk(the notions of contingency and necessity to be exact) for completely different reasons than Kripke is offering.

    The rest of you enjoi and thanks!

    :wink:
  • Wallows
    6.2k
    I'm going to retire from this one. I've struggled as much as I can take to set aside the fact that I reject possible world talk(the notions of contingency and necessity to be exact) for completely different reasons than Kripke is offering.creativesoul

    Sorry to hear. Hope you might change your mind. The book is definitely enlightening.
  • creativesoul
    3.6k


    Kripke uses possible world semantics without ever considering what they are existentially dependent upon... there's nothing enlightening about using rubbish as a means for alternative rubbish production.
  • Wallows
    6.2k
    Kripke uses possible world semantics without ever considering what they are existentially dependent upon... there's nothing enlightening about using rubbish as a means for alternative rubbish production.creativesoul

    They exist in a Meinongian jungle! :grin:
  • creativesoul
    3.6k
    We're left with the dire need for a standard by which we can determine what is both necessary and sufficient for being X, when X is a composite(a group of things that already exist in their entirety prior to being/becoming a part of X).

    That is the problem... always was... Kripke is of no help.

    Sure we can talk about electrons... talk about electrons is not talk about this table. We can talk about this table without talking about electrons.

    We cannot posit this table in a possible world scenario where there are no electrons.
  • Banno
    3.7k
    Kripke uses possible world semantics without ever considering what they are existentially dependent upon.creativesoul

    Just...no.
  • unenlightened
    2.8k
    Kripke uses possible world semantics without ever considering what they are existentially dependent upon...creativesoul

    Architects design possible buildings. And some of them get built. If they are good architects, their possible buildings conform to the laws of structural mechanics. These are the possible buildings that if they are built, don't fall down. Similarly, if you are planning a possible car journey, it is probably a good plan to cross the river where there is a road-bridge. Generally, the more realistic the possible world, the more likely it is to be useful.

    But meanwhile, Kripke is saying that possible worlds exist only as 'notions' and notions can be realistic or fanciful, but depend existentially only on someone's willingness to entertain them. If the building doesn't get built, or the journey is not made, these possibilities are unrealised, and remain mere notions.
  • Banno
    3.7k
    So the next bit is about the logical relations between the theses. (5) can stand after (6) is rejected.

    There are numerous counterexamples for
    (2), "One of the properties, or some conjointly, are believed by A to pick out some individual uniquely," (3), "If most, or a weighted most, of the q> 's are satisfied by one unique object y, then y is the referent of 'x'", and
    (4), "If the vote yields no unique object, 'x' does not refer";
    that's because the situations they describe are not true a priori, but only after investigation. It's not the descriptions that determine the reference.

    Kripke notes the rare case of initial baptism, which example seems to have captured the mind of many philosophers - including hereabouts - such that they have failed to look more broadly for examples, and so been misled in their theorising.

    See especially p.79-80.
  • Banno
    3.7k
    And so to the critique of (2), starting on p.80.

    A first counterargument:
    The learned fellow defines Cicero as "the man who denounced Catiline". The plain fellow does not; and yet talks about Cicero.

    This is much the argument I used before in asking who Nixon was.

    And I think it stands.
  • frank
    1.8k
    So we're admitting essential properties and there's an obvious expectation of there being a definite description.
  • frank
    1.8k
    You may not know Nixon's essential properties. He still has them.
  • Banno
    3.7k
    Where do you see that?
  • Banno
    3.7k
    Fine. The point at hand is that we do not need them to talk about him.
  • frank
    1.8k
    Somebody needs to know who he is. The ignorant individual speaks of him with dependence on that. So as opposed to thinking every individual must know a definite description, it's that the community knows.
  • Banno
    3.7k



    So you would replace

    (2)"One of the properties, or some conjointly, are believed by A to pick out some individual uniquely,"

    with something like (2') "One of the properties, or some conjointly, are believed by someone in the language community to pick out some individual uniquely,"

    That looks fraught.

    Or do you suggest that somehow the community as a whole has beliefs?
  • frank
    1.8k
    )"One of the properties, or some conjointly, are believed by A to pick out some individual uniquely,"

    with something like (2') "One of the properties, or some conjointly, are believed by someone in the language community to pick out some individual uniquely,"
    Banno

    No. I'm saying that Nixon is human-shaped in every possible world that contains Nixon.

    Or do you suggest that somehow the community as a whole has beliefs?Banno

    Knowledge shouldn't be thought of as residing between the ears of individuals. The community is like a knowledge bank. Or a skills bank.
  • Banno
    3.7k
    OK, I'm going to leave that hanging. I'm gathering that your approach is part of the reason Kripke brought the notion of a vote in - Thesis (4). Lets' keep going and see what is said about that.
  • Banno
    3.7k
    So we must take care of certain circularities. We can't make sense of Cicero as "the man who denounced Catiline" if Catiline is no more than the man denounced by Cicero.

    I'm not sure why he even bothered to point this out
  • Banno
    3.7k
    No. I'm saying that Nixon is human-shaped in every possible world that contains Nixon.frank

    Of course, this is not sufficient to pick Nixon out form any other human-shaped individual. It is not a definite description and does not serve to pick out Nixon in the requisite way.

    So in so far as Kripke's target here is the reference theory of definite descriptions, the relevance of your point is obscure.
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