• creativesoul
    3.9k
    I don't see why not. The toddler would not have those specific words, but they would have thoughts that roughly equate to those words or to something similar such as 'That to which I am gesturing...' I suspect the understanding of elementary gestures is built-in rather than learned.andrewk

    Well, it's a matter of what such rudimentary thought and belief are capable of actually having as their content...

    The reason why not is because it is impossible for such a complex linguistic construct to be formed by a creature who has yet to have been involved in naming practices and/or description. I work from the bare assumption that at conception there is no thought and/or belief.

    That's too far off topic, but just wanted to offer a brief answer.
  • creativesoul
    3.9k
    Certainly there is a question as to whether a DD has to be verbal. Usually we think of it as verbal, because, courtesy of Russell, we are used to examples such as 'the first chancellor of Germany' or 'the author of Waverley', but I see no need for it to be verbal.andrewk

    I do not object to the ability of DD to successfully pick a unique 'thing' out to the exclusion of all others. I object to the idea that definite descriptions are not existentially dependent upon naming practices.
  • creativesoul
    3.9k
    Think about the sentence, "It is raining". The "it" in that sentence stands in as a dummy referent...Wallows

    No. The term "it" is standing in place for something else(the actual situation, the events at the time of utterance, what's happening), but referents do not do that. Rather, they are the things being stood in place for. They are the things being referred to. They are the things being picked out by...

    It's not a mystery.
  • Wallows
    6.8k


    Sorry, I meant dummy subject.
  • creativesoul
    3.9k
    Sure. "It" is the subject of that sentence.

    I'm just attempting to offer a bit of justification for warning you about the particular framework you were employing...
  • creativesoul
    3.9k
    If the entity being successfully picked out, pointed to, and/or otherwise referred to by the name "Santa Claus" does not count as the referent of the name, then what on earth would it take to be a referent?creativesoul

    :wink:
  • Wallows
    6.8k


    I'm not sure still what you mean by "entity being picked out successfully" here.
  • creativesoul
    3.9k
    Conclusion:Naming practices are not necessary for all cases of successful reference.creativesoul

    Conclusion:Descriptive practices are not necessary for all cases of successful reference.creativesoul

    But... descriptive practices are existentially dependent upon naming practices.

    That is... where there has never been naming practices, there could never have been descriptive ones. That seems to stand in direct contradiction to the first conclusion above.

    Not all successful reference includes both naming and descriptive practices. Some do not include one. Some do not include the other.

    How can we make sense of this?

    What is the relation between inclusion, necessity, and/or existential dependency?
  • Wallows
    6.8k
    What is the relation between inclusion, necessity, and/or existential dependency?creativesoul

    Where is the existential dependency for an empty name?
  • creativesoul
    3.9k
    I'm not sure still what you mean by "entity being picked out successfully" here.Wallows

    The referent. That which is given a name.

    Suppose we place ten pictures on a table. One of them is Santa Claus(with suit, sled, and reindeer). All others are old bearded white guys... philosophers.

    I ask the average American four year old... do you see Santa Claus?

    She picks him out immediately.
  • creativesoul
    3.9k
    Where is the existential dependency for an empty name?Wallows

    There are no empty names. It is itself the name of a empty category. An empty container called "empty names".

    Other than that, the question doesn't make sense to me.

    The notion is the result of grossly misunderstanding how the attribution of meaning works.
  • creativesoul
    3.9k
    If the entity being successfully picked out, pointed to, and/or otherwise referred to by the name "Santa Claus" does not count as the referent of the name, then what on earth would it take to be a referent?
    — creativesoul

    :wink:
    creativesoul

    :wink:
  • Wallows
    6.8k
    There are no empty names. It is itself the name of a empty category. An empty container called "empty names".

    Other than that, the question doesn't make sense to me.

    The notion is the result of grossly misunderstanding how the attribution of meaning works.
    creativesoul

    Hmm, I'm not so sure about that...
  • andrewk
    1.8k
    I object to the idea that definite descriptions are not existentially dependent upon naming practices.creativesoul
    How do you account for a reference to 'The man next to the window with champagne in his glass', which appears to be a DD that does not use proper names?

    Let's assume that, unlike in the example in N&N, I can see the bubbles and colour and so can be confident that the glass contains neither white wine nor sparkling water or other carbonated soft drink.
  • andrewk
    1.8k
    Well, it's a matter of what such rudimentary thought and belief are capable of actually having as their content...creativesoul
    I can't see grounds for your objection here. The toddler will understand a concept that we would express as 'that thing over there' from the gesture and that's all that's needed. They only need the concept, not the words for it, and my fairly wide experience of toddlers is that they do understand the concept.
  • Wallows
    6.8k
    @andrewk

    How do you think Kripke's would respond to the issue of "empty names"?
  • creativesoul
    3.9k
    How do you account for a reference to 'The man next to the window with champagne in his glass', which appears to be a DD that does not use proper names?andrewk

    You're referring to an expression, then calling that expression a DD(using names), and then further describing it by pointing out that it contains nothing that we've named "proper names".
  • creativesoul
    3.9k
    Well, it's a matter of what such rudimentary thought and belief are capable of actually having as their content...
    — creativesoul
    I can't see grounds for your objection here.
    andrewk

    They weren't given. What you've suggested as thought/belief content of a language less creature is a complex language expression. The child has no language. I reject the suggestion on those grounds alone.
  • andrewk
    1.8k
    I reject the suggestion on those grounds alone.creativesoul
    It appears our positions are irreconcilable on that particular point.
  • creativesoul
    3.9k
    Some folk believe that it is possible for a language less creature to think along conceptual lines...

    :yikes:

    When further questioned, some folk adamantly point out - as if it were a good move to say this - that think, believe, and/or further argue that that is so by virtue of definition alone.

    Sometimes, while doing so, they are actually in the midst of accusing others of circularity.

    :gasp:

    And this is the ground against what I've been arguing? In light of the fact that there have been no subsequent valid refutation of anything I've claimed and/or argued?

    There's at least one important consideration, and it also serves to better answer the following question earlier asked of myself...

    How do you account for a reference to 'The man next to the window with champagne in his glass', which appears to be a DD that does not use proper names?andrewk
  • creativesoul
    3.9k
    ...they would have thoughts that roughly equate to those words...randrewk

    This is based upon the dubious presupposition that all thought can roughly equate to words.

    Roughly?

    If thought is equal to words, and a creature has no words, then a creature has no thought.

    It is also based upon a gross negligence. That is, it neglects to draw and maintain the distinction between thought and belief, and thinking about thought and belief.

    Those words - the ones you're actually expecting me to believe somehow belong to a language less creature - are thoughts that only a creature that is capable of thinking about it's own thought and belief can possibly have.

    :cool:
  • creativesoul
    3.9k
    How do you account for a reference to 'The man next to the window with champagne in his glass', which appears to be a DD that does not use proper names?andrewk

    This is written as if you're referring to the claim itself.

    Not all cases of successful reference include overt proper name usage.
  • creativesoul
    3.9k
    There are actual cases of using descriptive practices to successfully refer, to successfully pick something out, to bring another's attention to the same thing, while not actually putting name to paper by pen.

    Conclusion:Naming practices are not necessary for all cases of successful reference.
    — creativesoul

    There are actual cases of using naming practices to successfully refer, to successfully pick something out, to bring another's attention to the same thing, while not actually putting description to paper by pen.

    Conclusion:Descriptive practices are not necessary for all cases of successful reference.
    — creativesoul

    But... descriptive practices are existentially dependent upon naming practices.

    That is... where there has never been naming practices, there could never have been descriptive ones. That seems to stand in direct contradiction to the first conclusion above. Not all successful reference includes both naming and descriptive practices. Some do not include one. Some do not include the other.

    How can we make sense of this?

    What is the relation between inclusion, necessity, and/or existential dependency?
  • creativesoul
    3.9k
    Specific examples of successful reference do not include a proper name. Specific examples of successful reference do not include description. No examples of successful reference include neither. All examples of successful reference include at least one.

    Descriptions are about things. They can also refer to things. Names are not about things. They can only refer to things.

    We pick things out of this world by talking to others. We use nouns to do so. Nouns refer to people places and things. Prior to being able to describe something in detail, that something has to be identified, isolated, and/or otherwise picked out from it's surroundings in order to be more carefully examined in it's details. Names do that.
  • andrewk
    1.8k
    @Janus has suggested, and I currently agree with him about this, that there is no apparent logical difference between the use of a name like 'Richard Milhous Nixon' to refer to someone, and the use of the DD 'The person whose name is "Richard Milhous Nixon" ' (or 'the person whose parents named him "Richard Milhous Nixon" '). Under that approach, use of proper names is just use of a certain type of DD.

    What are your thoughts on that?
  • creativesoul
    3.9k
    ...there is no apparent logical difference between the use of a name like 'Richard Milhous Nixon' to refer to someone and the use of the DD 'The person whose name is "Richard Milhous Nixon" '. Under that approach, use of proper names is just use of a certain type of DD.

    What are your thoughts on that?
    andrewk

    I consider that in light of stronger ground.

    Given that the facts clearly demonstrate the actual difference between them regarding everyday use for reference, that sounds like a problem with the logic to me.
  • creativesoul
    3.9k
    Logic is supposed to take proper account of thoughts and belief. Logic is the rules of correct inference.

    For those others who may be so inclined...

    It does not follow from the fact that there are purely logical coherent formulations consisting of unbound variables that there are a set of corresponding things in the actual world that are bound by the same rules that govern the variables.

    Just because something is called "logical" or even a "logical rule" doesn't mean that it preserves the truth of the premises it's being applied to.

    Saying that there is no logical difference, presupposes and/or leads to claiming logical equivalence.

    Descriptions are not names.
  • Banno
    4.2k
    ...there is no apparent logical difference between the use of a name like 'Richard Milhous Nixon' to refer to someone, and the use of the DD 'The person whose name is "Richard Milhous Nixon" 'andrewk

    Nixon may have had another name. Then he would not be the person whose name is Nixon.

    Hence they are distinct.

    It's in the book.
  • creativesoul
    3.9k
    Both refer to the man named "Nixon", necessarily so. Both do not necessarily pick out the same referent. Nixon could have had another name. Someone else could have had that name. "The man named 'Nixon'" is not a referent. Nixon is.
  • Banno
    4.2k
    Both refer to the man named "Nixon", necessarily so.creativesoul
    No. "Nixon" refers to Nixon. "The man named 'Nixon'" refers to the man with that name. That he has that name is a contingent fact about Nixon.

    Both do not necessarily pick out the same referent.creativesoul
    Yes; but because "The man named Nixon" does not pick out the same thing in all possible worlds, adn hence is not necessary.

    Nixon could have had another name.creativesoul
    Yes. And that is a fact about Nixon. Indeed, we can only posit that he might have had a different name because we can refer to him with the rigid designator "Nixon". How could we make sense of "The man named 'Nixon' may have had a different name"... Only by indexing it to the actual world: "The man who in the actual world is named 'Nixon' might have been given another name". That sort of index is implied by the very shared language we are using for this conversation.
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