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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

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Donnellan says "When the historical explanation of the use of a name (with the intention to refer) ends in this way with events that preclude any referent being identified, I will call it a "block" in the history."

This seems dangerously circular. Why do events preclude any referent being identified? Well, because there isn't a referent at all. And what do we mean by 'there isn't a referent'? Well, we mean that a referent doesn't exist. So, Donnellan explains 'Santa Clause does not exist' in terms of his 'block' definition, which can only be explained by using the word 'exist'.

This is not substantially different from your point. Something has to make the sentence 'Santa Claus does not exist' true. And that is the fact that Santa Claus does not exist.

I think we are agreeing again, as occasionally happens.

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