[hist-analytic] RBJ's Proposal and and Hume's Fork

steve bayne baynesrb at yahoo.com
Fri Feb 27 09:48:43 EST 2009


Danny,

Sorry I can reply only very briefly to a couple of points.

"If that were so, how could communication ever get off the ground? Surely the public rules become established through successful attempts at communication?"

We don't form rules and then communicate, thanks to them. It is the publicity of the rules rather than public "ratification" that is at issue.  I think Reichebach "gets it. If you think not, tell me why.
 
"It depends what ‘a’ refers to. If it refers to an uninterpreted sound or inscription..."

Yes, this was part of my point. Compare Quine-quotes and Scheffler, or Reichenbach. A lot hinges on this. Again, there is no GOOD discussion of Kripke that is not careful. I can't really get involved here in a "good" discussion.

Another reason for care is that the topic is full of "mine fields." Distinguishing the philosophy involved in the theory of rigid designation and the logic involved in a model theoretic treatment of alethic modality is not easy. It can't be done carelessly. Much would depend on detailed discussion of Kripke's early logic papers and the conclusions drawn w.r.t. to example "actualism" on the other. Again, way too involved for me to drop everything and reread this stuff now. It is worthwhile to be sure, although I don't think it is quite as important as some believe. Ontology is not model theory etc.

Regards

sTeve
 


--- On Fri, 2/27/09, Danny Frederick <danny.frederick at tiscali.co.uk> wrote:
From: Danny Frederick <danny.frederick at tiscali.co.uk>
Subject: RE: RBJ's Proposal and  and Hume's Fork
To: hist-analytic at simplelists.com
Date: Friday, February 27, 2009, 9:33 AM




 
 






Hi Steve, 

   

Here are sundry comments. 

   

   

<<communication requires public rules in order
to have language>> 

   

   

If that were so, how could communication ever get off
the ground? Surely the public rules become established through successful
attempts at communication? 

   

   

<< Is "'a' is a rigid designator"
determined by fact or stipulation? Is it "analytic" if true?>> 

   

   

It depends what ‘a’ refers to. If it
refers to an uninterpreted sound or inscription, it is necessarily false. If it
refers to an interpreted symbol, it is either necessarily true or necessarily
false, depending on whether the symbol (as interpreted) either is or is not a
name which designates something. What makes the statement true or false is the
meaning (sense and reference) of what is referred to by ‘a.’ 

   

Suppose I introduce a new name and stipulate its
reference by means of a reference-fixing definite description, thus: 

   

By ‘a’ I mean the US president in
February 2009. 

   

I am doing two things. First I am making a
necessarily true (so long as I am not lying, etc.) statement about a particular
language, namely, English augmented by ‘a.’ Second I am actually
bringing into existence that particular language by my
‘performative’ utterance.  

   

The reference-fixing statement is thus always
necessarily true or necessarily false. But by making it I stipulate which
language I am talking about. 

   

   

<<If it is an empirical claim that 'Cicero' is
a rigid designator, then what is the evidence?>> 

   

   

I think it is an empirical claim. While it is true
that anyone who understands it, and thus understands that ‘Cicero’
is a proper name, must thereby know that ‘Cicero’ is a rigid
designator, if it designates anything, it is nevertheless an empirical question
whether ‘Cicero’ does in fact designate anything (we could all be
mistaken). The empirical evidence concerns whether Cicero exists. 

   

All this is written off the top of my head, so I am
not reporting any positions taken in the literature, though what I say may
coincide with some. I have not read the literature for two decades, so I cannot
remember what positions were taken twenty years ago and I haven’t the
faintest idea what positions are taken now. 

   

I think (he said hesitatingly) that it is
uncontroversial that rigid designation implies essentialism. 

   

Danny 



 

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