• Wallows
    7.1k
    I also think that names rely on descriptions (outside of ostensive contexts, which is most of the time) to fix their referents.Janus

    Yeah, so if we talk about "empty names", which Kripke does not want to introduce into N&N, by already stating that in the first page of Lecture I., in Naming and Necessity, due to the problem that it would entail with reconciling all of his views held in N&N wrt. to "empty names", then we are left with an incomplete picture of his philosophy or incomplete to my mind as I want to know what are Kripke's thoughts about "empty names", as they seem to only exist as descriptions without a referent, thus leaning on the descriptivist theory of reference to elucidate their semantic value if Kripke can't or doesn't want to address them.
  • Janus
    6.7k
    as they seem to only exist as descriptions without a referent, thus leaning on the descriptivist theory of reference to elucidate their semantic value if Kripke can't or doesn't want to address them.Wallows

    So, you're saying that empty names, such as Kripke's example 'unicorn', are only empty in the sense that thy have no referent but are not, and in fact cannot be, semantically empty if they are to be names at all, because they would then just be scribbles on a page or sounds, without the descriptions that give them sense? If that is what you are saying then I agree. But this is in relation to names of natural kinds.

    Proper names may also be empty, as I said earlier, if they are not being used to refer to anyone (well, in themselves they just are referentially empty). And proper names are also pretty much semantically empty (although etymologically they may not be empty, for example 'Peter' means 'stone' and so on). So, I would not say that descriptions, beyond the minimal 'the entity called such and such' are inherent in names; descriptions are contingent upon the actualities of this world that obtain in relation to the entities being named.
  • Wallows
    7.1k
    So, I would not say that descriptions, beyond the minimal 'the entity called such and such' are inherent in names; descriptions are contingent upon the actualities of this world that obtain in relation to the entities being named.Janus

    Yes, I don't disagree with that. I just thought of empty names as provides a counterargument towards Kripke's criticism of the descriptivist theory. So, @Banno, that seems to be the issue here in my view, that Kripke doesn't talk about empty names, where @Janus or I, might as well address the elephant in the room and say 'why not'?
  • unenlightened
    3.3k
    Kripke doesn't talk about empty names,Wallows

    (e) SantaClaus,p.93andpp.96-7.Gareth Evans has pointed out that similar cases of reference shifts arise where the shift is not from a real entity to a fictional one, but from one real entity to another of the same kind. According to Evans, 'Madagascar' was a native name for a part of Africa; Marco Polo, erroneously thinking that he was following native usage, applied the name to an island. (Evans uses the example to support the description theory; I, of course, do not.) Today the usage of the name as a name for an island has become so widespread that it surely overrides any historical connection with the native name. David Lewis has pointed out that the same thing could have happened even if the natives had used 'Madagascar' to designate a mythical locality. So real reference can shift to another real reference, fictional reference can shift to real, and real to fictional. In all these cases, a present intention to refer to a given entity (or to refer fictionally) overrides the original intention to preserve reference in the historical chain of transmission. The matter deserves extended discussion. But the phenomenon is perhaps roughly explicable in terms of the predominantly social character of the use of proper names emphasized in the text: we use names to communicate with other speakers in a common language. This character dictates ordinarily that a speaker intend to use a name the same way as it was transmitted to him; but in the 'Madagascar' case this social character dictates that the present intention to refer to an island overrides the distant link to native usage./quote]
    — Kripke
    I hold similar views regarding fictional proper names. The mere discovery that there was indeed a detective with exploits like those of Sherlock Holmes would not show that Conan Doyle was writing about this man ; it is theoretically possible, though in practice fantastically unlikely, that Doyle was writing pure fiction with only a coincidental resemblance to the actual man. (See the characteristic disclaimer: 'The characters in this work are fictional, and any resemblance to anyone, living or dead, is purely coincidental.') Similarly, I hold the metaphysical view that, granted that there is no sherlock Holmes, one cannot say of any possible person that he would have been Sherlock Holmes, had he existed. Several distinct possible people, and even actual ones such as Darwin or Jack the Ripper, might have performed the exploits of Holmes, but there is none ofwhom we can say that he would have been Holmes had he performed these exploits. For if so, which one?
    I thus could no longer write, as I once did, that 'Holmes does not exist, but in other states of affairs, he would have existed. ' (See my 'Semantical Considerations on Modal Logic', Acta Philosophica Fennica, Vol. 16 (1963) pp. 83-94; reprinted in L. Linsky (ed.), Reference and !vlodality, Oxford University Press, (1971 ; p. 65 in the Linsky reprint.) The quoted assertion gives the erroneous impression that a fictional name such as 'Holmes' names a particular possible-but-not-actual individual. The sub­ stantive point I was trying to make, however, remains and is independent of any linguistic theory of the status of names in fiction. The point was that, in other possible worlds 'some actually existing individuals may be absent while new in­ dividuals . . . may appear' (ibid, p. 65), and that if in an open formula A (x) the free variable is assigned a given individual as value, a problem arises as to whether (in a model-theoretic treatment ofmodal logic) a truth-value is to be assigned to the formula in worlds in which the individual in question does not exist.
    — Kripke

    I, might as well address the elephant in the room and say 'why not'?Wallows

    The fictional elephant has left the building.
  • Wallows
    7.1k


    If you could provide me with the full text, I would appreciate that. All I gathered is that empty names have semantic value dependent on the social and cultural or historical context of said empty name. Yeah, but so does any name for the matter also share this characteristic although to a much lesser degree than an empty name.
  • Banno
    4.8k
    :grin:

    I wasn't going to bother. Janus refuses to read the book anyway. But thanks.
  • Banno
    4.8k
    Chess.

    https://www.ichess.net/blog/history-of-chess/

    It started out as something else - perhaps "the elephant game", but in a form that we might not recognise. Over time the rules and associated terms changed into the formally recognisable game we see today.

    So the rules were never known by a single inventor, a priori.

    And Chess 960, Crazy Chess and the other alternatives are still chess.

    There may be a "family resemblance" running through all of the variations. It's the historical use of the term "Chess" that makes all these variations, games of chess and not draughts.

    We could set up a game in which we changed each of the rules, one by one, until we had something that was utterly different; and yet, since we started with the rule of chess, we would be justified in calling it a form of chess.

    And that's what Kripke is saying happens with names.
  • Banno
    4.8k
    If we make a statement about something, are we making an observation? (And if so, an observation where we're looking at what?) Are we creating something? For what purpose? Or are we doing something else?Terrapin Station

    Any and all.
  • Banno
    4.8k
    @schopenhauer1, see how the account of the name "chess" does not rely on a substance?

    So I am reluctant to conclude that there is a connection between names and substance, since we can name things that have no substance.
  • Banno
    4.8k
    I finally turn to an all too cursory discussion of the application
    of the foregoing considerations to the identity thesis.

    Let's do that, then.

    SO we get to p.144, and identity. Three different ones:

    1. Identity of mind with body
    2. Identity of (for example) pain with a certain neural pattern
    3. Identity of types of mental states with types of brain states.
  • Banno
    4.8k
    There's a rejoinder that he is restricting the discussion to type-type identities.

    Now at one stage earlier - I'm sorry, the post is lost in the confusion of the other thread - I think it was @Snakes Alive who suggested that a pain was not an individual; and hence that it could not be the very same thing as a particular brain state.

    But if Kripke is restricting himself to types, then perhaps that counter does not work...

    Nevertheless, the suggestion raises the issue of whether a pain is an individual, and whether pain is a type in the way water, lightening, and gold are types.
  • Banno
    4.8k
    Then there is a discussion of the cartesian distinction between mind and body (p.144-146). Kripke argues that the distinction must be taken seriously. If Descartes the body is the very same as Descartes the person, then that identity is necessary. That a person is distinct from their body is not a trivial point.
  • Banno
    4.8k
    Footnote 74 draws attention to the obvious distinction between a corpse and a person; that the person is a body with a particular structure, and a corpse a body with a different structure. Kripke's claim, unsupported, is that the modal difficulties here will be similar to those he discusses in the text.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.6k

    I see what you (Kripke?) are getting at. This idea is that there is a sort of "prime cause" for which kinds/individuals can hearken back to as their original "baptism" or "dubbing". Thus rigid designators are defined by their origination baptism from the first naming event. I get it. However, what are we defining as real here? Games are not natural kinds. It seems to me that Kripke's only uses examples of individuals (who are humans, and thus natural), and kinds in nature (like species). This to me, seems like he only thinks rigid designators are applied to natural things. However, I could be prove wrong with simply some Naming and Necessity quotes to the contrary.. I don't have the book in front of me now, and honestly I don't feel like looking it up. So far I've seen references to Nixon, Hesperus, H20, Venus, etc. These are all natural in some way.

    But, I see a general theme either way. He seems to at the least be an essentialist. His essentialism for proper names is based on causal essentialism. That is to say, a posteriori necessity of a proper name's identity has to do with its "origination event" and the causal pathways that it follows, like a "genealogy of cause".. no matter how many changes occurred over time, it has some sort of genetic link to that origination event that makes the name a rigid designator.

    On the other hand, natural kinds, have a substance essentialism. That is to say, the a posteriori necessity of a natural kind's identity has to do with an essential substance that makes that kind what it is and not something else.

    Thus out of this, purely based on speculation, but kind of interesting to me, is that metaphysically one can argue that there is a substance ontology, but epistemologically, language has its own built in causal essentialism in regards to how we use proper names.
  • Banno
    4.8k
    This idea is that there is a sort of "prime cause" for which kinds/individuals can hearken back to as their original "baptism" or "dubbing".schopenhauer1

    Well, they might. I'm not sure that Kripke thinks they must; and I certainly don't. I just don't see for a dubbing or baptism. The use of the name will suffice.

    I'll have to think on more of your post.
  • frank
    2.3k
    But surely Nixon's parents knew a priori that his name was Richard.
  • Banno
    4.8k
    Nixon's parents knew a priori that his name was Richardfrank

    I'm not sure what that would mean...
  • Banno
    4.8k
    Thus out of this, purely based on speculation, but kind of interesting to me, is that metaphysically one can argue that there is a substance ontology, but epistemologically, language has its own built in causal essentialism in regards to how we use proper names.schopenhauer1

    If I am going to treat Kripke's book as setting out an acceptable approach to grammar, then I'm not that interested in some sot of substance ontology.

    although his examples might appear to be in terms of substance, I'll read them as about how we use the words for one substance or another.
  • frank
    2.3k
    I'm not sure what that would mean...Banno

    They chose the name. They knew a priori what his name was.
  • Banno
    4.8k
    They somehow deduce the name? Not sure I follow that.

    First, convince me that it has to be one or the other: a priori or a posteriori.
  • frank
    2.3k


    So how do you understand Kripke's contingent a priori?
  • Banno
    4.8k
    Oh, OK - it's the "know" that threw me. I don't see how a parent could logically justify the name they choose for their child.
  • frank
    2.3k
    A priori knowledge is just stuff you know without having to check the world. If you make up a story, you know it a priori.

    Kripke says that anytime you want, you can fix a reference by picking a contingent property, like Beth, the waitress at the diner. Being a waitress isn't a necessary property of Beth, but you know a priori that the Beth under consideration is a waitress. Why? You say:

    "If the Beth I'm thinking of exists, she's a waitress."

    Contingent a priori.

    Agree? This is important because the necessary a posteriori is sort of a mirror image of the contingent a priori.
  • Banno
    4.8k
    OK. Agreed.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.6k
    Well, they might. I'm not sure that Kripke thinks they must; and I certainly don't. I just don't see for a dubbing or baptism. The use of the name will suffice.

    I'll have to think on more of your post.
    Banno

    Can you explain this approach of fixing rigid designators? I know that causal theories have problems because you can designate a name as rigid, but causally fix it to no particular referent (e.g. the most joyful person can be different in all possible worlds but they will be dubbed "Joy" if they are the most joyful person in the room. There is no referent but the designator is rigid). Perhaps you are trying to avoid this critique by not assenting to this interpretation.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.6k
    If I am going to treat Kripke's book as setting out an acceptable approach to grammar, then I'm not that interested in some sot of substance ontology.

    although his examples might appear to be in terms of substance, I'll read them as about how we use the words for one substance or another.
    Banno

    Granted, but besides eschewing descriptivist theories of names, what is the significance of his program for grammar if not implications that are metaphysical in some way?
  • Banno
    4.8k
    Can you explain this approach of fixing rigid designators?schopenhauer1

    Fixing a rigid designator is just using a name. How that name came to be used to talk about its referent is a quit seperate issue to how it is used to talk about possibilities.

    If you like, we can use proper names as rigid designators.

    We do this by presenting a possibility. What if Elizabeth Windsor abdicated? In order to present such a possibility, we take this sentence to be about Elizabeth Windsor.

    saying "we designate a name as rigid" misunderstands the process.
  • Banno
    4.8k
    Put simply, he invites us to reconsider necessity and possibility in a slightly different way. He thus re-introduced them into analytic philosophy after they had been relegated to history.
  • Banno
    4.8k
    The following seems to be the key paragraph for understanding Kripke's rejection of any form of the identity thesis with regard to consciousness.

    Let 'A' name a particular pain sensation, and let 'B' name
    the corresponding brain state, or the brain state some identity
    theorist wishes to identify with A. Prima facie, it would seem
    that it is at least logically possible that B should have existed
    (Jones's brain could have been in exactly that state at the time
    in question) without Jones feeling any pain at all, and thus
    without the presence of A. Once again, the identity theorist
    cannot admit the possibility cheerfully and proceed from there ;
    consistency, and the principle of the necessity of identities
    using rigid designators, disallows any such course. If A and B
    were identical, the identity would have to be necessary. The
    difficulty can hardly be evaded by arguing that although B
    could not exist without A, being a pain is merely a contingent
    property of A, and that therefore the presence of B without
    pain does not imply the presence of B without A. Can any
    case of essence be more obvious than the fact that being a pain is
    a necessary property of each pain? The identity theorist who
    wishes. to adopt the strategy in question must even argue that
    being a sensation is a contingent property of A, for prima facie it
    would seem logically possible that B could exist without any
    sensation with which it might plausibly be identified. Consider
    a particular pain, or other sensation, that you once had. Do you
    find it at all plausible that that very sensation could have existed
    without being a sensation, the way a certain inventor (Franklin)
    could have existed without being an inventor?

    Now coming towards the end of what I take as a model of good analytic critique, this argument is irksome. Why can't the identity theorist just assert that B cannot have existed without Jones feeling any pain at all? Indeed, isn't what the theorist must assert?

    Consider a theorist who wires Jones up to induce a dull throb in his left toe - A. If he produces a stabbing pain instead, they have not located B correctly, and the stimulation must be altered. B will only have been correctly located when, every time B is stimulated Jones has a throbbing left toe; and every time Jones has a throbbing left toe, B is observed.

    Kripke argues that A must be a pain, and that B is not a pain. Isn't that much the same as arguing that water must be wet, and yet a few molecules of water cannot be wet, and hence that water is not the very same as H₂O?
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment