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1. I am assuming that we treat all of the sentences in the same way. Someone might suggest that we treat the first three sentences as comporting different propositional content than it would at first appear (eg, ‘Hamlet slew Polonius’ should be read ‘In the play by William Shakespeare called “Hamlet”, the title character is depicted as slaying a minor character, who is named ‘Polonius’.’). I do not think such an approach is helpful or wise. First, it assumes we already know whether or not the names we use are of fictional characters, or at least incorporates such knowledge into the speaker’s meaning. This would make it rather difficult to know precisely which sort of proposition was being uttered; one in which the speaker took the nominata of her terms to be fictional (a non-literal reading of her utterance), or one in which the speaker sought to say something of the nominata of her terms, whatever they may be. Second, it simply moves the problem into the realm of propositions (“Consider the following propositions...”).

2. Joseph L. Camp, Jr., “Why Attributions of Aboutness Report Soft Facts” (Philosophical Topics: Metaphysics, Volume XVI, No.1, Spring 1988. pp.5-30).

3. Camp suggests, “When we ascribe thoughts to one another we import into our mental lives not only the semantics but the pragmatics of speech. In particular, a fair number of thoughts are, among other things, inner episodes of narrative storytelling.” p.11.

4. Cf. Camp, p.12.

5. Camp, p.14.

6. Camp’s example is one further removed from modern scientific theory, but equally illuminating. He examines interpretive differences among historians concerning the conceptual and mathematical device of sphere-clusters in ancient and Islamic astronomy, stating, “The issue between the historian who loves continuity and the historian who loves incommensurability is whether it furthers our understanding of the thought of the Islamic astronomers, or of the ancients, or of the collective consisting of both, to see the Islamic astronomers’ sphere-cluster character as the ancients’ sphere-cluster character.” p.16.

7. The differences between the two notions of momentum is clearly seen by appeal to their respective formulations. However, it is not obvious by those formulations alone that there is any kind of conflict involved. Relativistic momentum is often proposed as a “revision” of Classical momentum, further suggesting that it is intended to merely correct for empirical disparities that were found when calculating the momentum of high speed particles. Classical momentum, however, was taken as a primitive value, absolute across reactions, serving as one of the principle grounds for the conservation of energy. It is not a peripheral notion whose content can be “tweaked” without disruption to the whole system.

8. Camp, p.18.

9. This is, although factual, drawn from a parenthetical example offered by Camp. p.15.

10. Camp states, “The character-character relation of appearing as is not an equivalence relation. In particular, it can branch; two or more characters in one story can appear as a single character in another.” p.19.

11. Camp, p.24. (See also pp.21-22.)

12. Camp, p.26. Furthermore, he concludes, “Ascriptions of aboutness, ascriptions of ontological confusion and nuanced ascriptions of collective thought are essentially the same. All involve relocating characters in inner narrative from one person to another. Just as with claims about character “identity” between ordinary texts, those mentalistic claims report soft facts.” ibid.

13. Frege, “Speaker’s Reference and Semantic Reference,” (as reprinted in The Philosophy of Language, second edition / A.P. Martinich ed.) p.191.

14. Frege, p.191.

15. Frege states of image: “The image [of a sign, suffused with feelings and intimately personal].. differs essentially from the connotation of a sign, which latter may well be common property of many and is therefore not a part or mode of the single person’s mind...” p.192.

16. Frege, p.192.

17. Frege, p.199.

18. Russell, “On Denoting,” (as reprinted in The Philosophy of Language) p.209.

19. Kripke distinguishes two cases, the “simple” and the “complex,” in which a designator is used. In the “simple” case, a speaker specifically intends to refer to the semantic referent. The clearest examples of such a case would be any effort to refer to an object in absentia, or to exploit a connotative element of the designator itself (eg. In the first instance “Edward Teller was here yesterday,” where we mean to comport the presence here yesterday of the conservative Physicist; and in the second, “Her husband is nice to her,” where we mean to comport something of her marriage partner, whoever he may be). In the “complex” case, a speaker wishes to refer some object p, and further believe’s of p that it is the semantic referent of the designator employed by the speaker to pick out p. In this case, the general intention and the specific intention corresponding to the use of the designator are taken to be the same by the speaker, though they may in fact be different. (Cf. Kripke, p.256)

20. Camp, p.20.

Philosophy of Language: Reference and Singular Terms
PHIL-725-01, Georgetown University
Fall 1991
(© David Foss, January 10, 1994)

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Last modified September 1, 1998

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