Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

The Pragmatics of Empty Names

  • Nicole Wyatt (a1)
Abstract
ABSTRACT

Fred Adams and collaborators advocate a view on which empty-name sentences semantically encode incomplete propositions, but which can be used to conversationally implicate descriptive propositions. This account has come under criticism recently from Marga Reimer and Anthony Everett. Reimer correctly observes that their account does not pass a natural test for conversational implicatures, namely, that an explanation of our intuitions in terms of implicature should be such that we upon hearing it recognize it to be roughly correct. Everett argues that the implicature view provides an explanation of only some of our intuitions, and is in fact incompatible with others, especially those concerning the modal profile of sentences containing empty names. I offer a pragmatist treatment of empty names based upon the recognition that the Gricean distinction between what is said and what is implicated is not exhaustive, and argue that such a solution avoids both Everett's and Reimer's criticisms.

Copyright
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

F. Adams , and L. A. Dietrich 2004What's in a (n Empty) Name?Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 85: 125–48.

F. Adams , G. Fuller , and R. Stecker 1997The Semantics of Fictional Names.” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 78: 128–48.

F. Adams , and R. Stecker 1994Vacuous Singular Terms.” Mind and Language, 9, 4: 387401.

Kent Bach 1994Conversational Impliciture.” Mind and Language, 9, 2: 124–62.

Kent Bach 2001a “Speaking Loosely: Sentence Nonliterality.” Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 25: 249–63.

Kent Bach 2001b “You Don't Say?Synthese, 128: 1544.

David Braun 1993Empty Names.” Noûs, 27: 449–69.

David Braun 2005Empty Names, Fictional Names, Mythical Names.” Noûs, 39: 596631.

H. Cappelen , and E. Lepore 1997On an Alleged Connection between Indirect Speech and the Theory of Meaning.” Mind and Language, 12: 278–96.

H. Cappelen , and E. Lepore 2005a Insensitive Semantics: A Defense of Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism. Maiden, MA: Blackwell.

H. Cappelen , and E. Lepore 2005b “Radical and Moderate Pragmatics: Does Meaning Determine Truth Conditions?” In Semantics versus Pragmatics. Edited by Z. Gendler Szabó . Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 4571.

R. Carston 2002Linguistic Meaning, Communicated Meaning, and Cognitive Pragmatics.” Mind and Language, 17, 1/2: 127–48.

Anthony Everett 2003Empty Names and ‘Gappy’ Propositions.” Philosophical Studies, 116: 136.

F. Recanati 1989The Pragmatics of What Is Said.” Mind and Language, 4: 295329.

F. Recanati 2001 ldquo;Literal/Nonliteral.” Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 25: 264–74.

Nathan Salmon 1998Nonexistence.” Nous, 32, 3: 277319.

Scott Soames 2005 “Naming and Asserting.” In Semantics versus Pragmatics. Edited by Z. Gendler Szabó . Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 356–82.

Charles Travis 1985On What Is Strictly Speaking True.” Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 15: 187229.

Charles Travis 1996Meaning's Role in Truth.” Mind, 105: 451–66.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review / Revue canadienne de philosophie
  • ISSN: 0012-2173
  • EISSN: 1759-0949
  • URL: /core/journals/dialogue-canadian-philosophical-review-revue-canadienne-de-philosophie
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×