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Proper Names: Philosophical Aspects

Elsevier Ltd
DOI: 10.1016/b0-08-044854-2/01137-8
  • Causal Theories
  • Connotation
  • Definite Descriptions
  • Denotation
  • Description Theories
  • Empty Names
  • Identity Sentences
  • Meaning
  • Millian Theories
  • Natural Kind Terms
  • Negative Existentials
  • Propositional Attitude Attributions
  • Propositions
  • Reference
  • Sense
  • Linguistics
  • Philosophy


Proper names, expressions such as ‘George W. Bush,’ ‘New York,’ and ‘Armageddon,’ raise two central philosophical questions. One concerns meaning: What do proper names contribute to the meanings of the sentences in which they occur? Another concerns reference: What is the mechanism by which proper names refer to their bearers? In responding to these questions, philosophers often compare and contrast proper names with other linguistic expressions, including definite descriptions and natural kind terms.

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