Proper names and possible worlds
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In this essay a theory of proper names is developed and applied to the construction of quantified modal logics and to a discussion of problems concerning identity across possible worlds. The theory is then used to aid discussion of essentialism, empty singular terms, quantification into epistemic contexts, and Frege’ s problem with identity . In the first chapter, after a preliminary discussion of Russell’s and Frege’s theories of names, a theory is developed. It is argued that in the giving of a name a relation is established between the name and what is named. That relation is the sense of the name. It is also argued that names can be given to imaginary, fictional, and other such non-existent things. The second chapter is devoted to a discussion of Quine’s programme for eliminating singular terms. It is there argued that the programme cannot be justified. The third chapter centres around the construction of logical systems to deal with identity across possible worlds. It is assumed that once a name is given and its sense thereby established the name is a rigid designator. Quantificational systems are constructed without modal operators yet in terms of which cross world identity can be discussed. Modal operators are then introduced to facilitate a discussion of essentialism and identity. At each point the formal systems are constructed in accordance with clearly stated assumptions about constant singular terms, the domains of quantification, and the interpretation of modal operators
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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