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The University of Southampton
PhilosophyPart of Humanities

The Systematic Polysemy of Fictional Names and Predicates Seminar

16:15 - 18:00
2 October 2014
University of Stirling

Event details

Visiting Speaker Seminar



Saul Kripke argued that fictional names are ambiguous, having a referring use on which they refer to abstract artefacts, as well as a use on which they are empty.  Such a picture is to be endorsed as it provides the least revisionary account of our practice and allows for a straightforward treatment of negative existentials. Anthony Everett has objected to such an account, arguing that such ambiguity is implausible given certain 'mixed sentences' which require fictional names to both refer and fail to refer. Everett's critique misses another part of the Kripke picture, however, namely that the predicates used in fictional discourse are also ambiguous. Once this is noted Everett's objection lapses.  Moreover, I show by considering nonfictional cases that the ambiguity of fictional names and predicates conforms with polysemous names and predicates elsewhere.

Speaker information

Dr Lee Walters,Lecturer

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