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

steve bayne baynesrb at yahoo.com
Sat Feb 28 14:05:55 EST 2009


I can't enter a discussion on Kripke, but I was thinking of your post
and thought I'd mention one thing that I maybe should have. Part
of what concerns me in all this "rigid designator worship" is in how
we arrive at worlds in Kripke. Kripke is very explicit in contrasting
his view with Lewis' and he repeats his point that worlds are
"stipulated" not discovered. If you look at what was said about
"stipulation" around 1936 among the "positivists" and their
scientifically minded critics, e.g. Reichenbach, you will find that
stipulation is closely related to pragmatics, in particular
definition. Stipulation requires, by my lights, decision and 
decision introduces mind. If you can't have "worlds" without
stipulation then you can't have them without minds. But you
just might be able to avoid having to go "model theoretic" in
dealing with many of our problems by simply accepting minds
and doing without the "worlds." To be sure they are crucial on
some accounts of counterfactuals but the we are back to
stipulation: "Suppose contrary to fact..." I don't really want to 
go into this now, but you DO raise good points and I don't want
to sound dismissive.



--- 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. 




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