[hist-analytic] Aune, Kripke 'S' and meta-statements of identity

Baynesr at comcast.net Baynesr at comcast.net
Sun Oct 18 10:39:43 EDT 2009


"Stick S is one meter long at t0" ? 

Try spelling out 'S' and see what happens. This is either an open sentence or 

'S' stands for some thing. Whatever the case may be, try filling out this 'S' 

and see what happens. THEN we will have something. Second point. 

Kripke distinguishes three thesis (NN p. 4). I will discuss two, one in particular. 

The first is that identical objects are necessarily identical; the second is that true 

identity statements between rigid designators are necessary. Note how they differ 

according to Kripke. 

The first is not, but the second is, metalinguistic. So if we have it that 'a=b' then 

''Nec(a=b)' is true'. The sentence is about a sentence, whence it's being 

"metalinguistic." Kripke, further, maintains - against those who maintain 

that two people can have the same name disproves the rigidity thesis - 

that requiring that each name have one object in not "a major oversimplification." 

He, then, goes on to discuss at greater length cases where the same name 

refers to different objects. But as I see it this is not what he should be concerned 

with so much. 

What he should be concerned with, I think, is that an object in this world may have 

two names - and here is where I begin my suggestion that his uniqueness requirement 

is an oversimplification which side steps issues concerning rigidity. The reason I say 

this is in view of the following situation. 

One object has two names, 'a' and 'b' say'; both are rigid designators. 

Now it turns out that a and b are found to be identical. Both names are rigid; that is, 

they designate the same thing in all possible worlds in which they designate at all. 

Fine. But suppose in one world 'a' doesn't name at all. Now remember we are talking 

about the second thesis, the one that is metalinguistic. Now if 'a' doesn't designate 

then in the world where it doesn't we cannot assert ''a=b' is true'. Why? There is no 

'a', or 'a' doesn't designate at all. In this case, we can't say that the sentence 'a=b' 

is true in all possible worlds. We CAN say that a and b are identical in all possible 

worlds, but not ''a=b' is true' in all possible worlds. Now I don't know why he doesn't 

raise this example; it is far more challenging than the ambiguity (?) of 'Aristotle'. There 

may be an easy way around this; but I don't see it. 


Regards Regards 


From: "Bruce Aune" <aune1 at verizon.net> 
To: Baynesr at comcast.net 
Cc: hist-analytic at simplelists.com 
Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2009 7:04:56 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern 
Subject: Fwd: Re Steve on Kripke and the Meter Stick 

Begin forwarded message: 

From: Bruce Aune < aune at philos.umass.edu > 

Date: October 14, 2009 3:08:33 PM EDT 

To: Baynesr at comcast.net 

Subject: Re Steve on Kripke and the Meter Stick 

Mea culpa, mea culpa!  I took too quick a look at Witt's section 50 of PI.  Steve is right: Witt didn't say that the standard meter is not 1 meter long; he said that it neither is nor is not a standard meter.  But Witt was dogmatic in making this claim; he offered no argument to support this bizarre assertion: he simply affirmed that the language-game we play with "meter" does not allow either affirmation (that it is or that it is not). I would never say that Witt was a fool (that would be a silly thing to say) but he was a very confident, sometimes dogmatic man.  Like me, Kripke thought Witt was clearly wrong about "meter," but Kripke  didn't actually argue against him on this point. (He said, "let's suppose he is wrong and that the stick is one meter long" [p.54].)  Kripke proceeds to argue that the statement, "Stick S is one meter long at t-sub-o," is known a priori by someone who has fixed the metric system by reference to stick S, even though this statement is not a necessary truth.  It is thus, he says, an example of a contingent a priori statement. 

In my book I gave a streamlined version of Kripke's argument, one that did not take account of various incidental matters that Kripke took up in the passages where he gave his argument. (This morning I had actually forgotten that he mentions Witt in this part of N&N.) When I presented the argument, I said "some acute philosophers have raised objections with Kripke's criticism of Kant's contention [that anything known a priori is necessarily true], but if his argument is reconstructed as follows, I think it is successful" (pp. 39-40).  So if Steve is going to criticize the arguments I have given, he should direct his attention to the two paragraphs I include on pages 40-41. 

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