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Name-bearing, Reference, and Circularity

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Title: Name-bearing, Reference, and Circularity
Author(s): Gray, A.
Subject(s): Proper names Reference Circularity
Abstract: Proponents of the predicate view of names explain the reference of an occurrence of a name N by invoking the property of bearing N. They avoid the charge that this view involves a vicious circularity by claiming that bearing N is not itself to be understood in terms of the reference of actual or possible occurrences of N. I argue that this approach is fundamentally mistaken. The phenomenon of ‘reference transfer’ shows that an individual can come to bear a name in virtue of the referential practices of a group of speakers. I develop a picture of name-bearing which captures this fact by treating the extension of name as a function of the way that extension is represented in the presuppositions of groups of speakers. I show that though there is a form of circularity inherent in this approach, it is not vicious circularity.
Issue Date: 2014-11
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Citation Info: Gray, A. Name-bearing, reference, and circularity. Philosophical Studies. 2014. 171(2): 207-231. DOI: 10.1007/s11098-013-0262-z.
Type: Article
Description: Post print version of article may differ from published version. The final publication is available at; DOI:10.1007/s11098-013-0262-z.
ISSN: 0031-8116
Sponsor: This is the penultimate draft of a paper that is forthcoming in Philosophical Studies. Thanks to Nat Hansen, John Hawthorne, Chris Kennedy, Michael Kremer, Daniel Rothschild, Josef Stern and an anonymous reviewer, as well as participants in the various workshops at the University of Chicago for helpful comments on earlier versions of this material. Special thanks to Rachel Goodman for insight on the substance and advice on the structure of this paper.
Date Available in INDIGO: 2015-03-29

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