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Thursday, August 12, 2021

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>When you say, "empty names can refer," do you mean that some empty names refer and some empty names do not refer? Or do you mean that all empty names refer?

Important question. If a proper name is genuinely proper, which in my view means having its anaphoric content, then it must refer, i.e. it must tell us which thing the predicate belongs to. But there can be reference failure. Chapter 2 (“Rules for Reference”) expands on this. So I distinguish between empty names and meaningless 'names'.

>One of your assumptions is false.

No one of your inferences is false! The move to (4) is not valid. For

(4) ‘Asmodeus’ refers to something that does not exist.

and

(4*) ‘Asmodeus’ refers to something and there is no such thing as Asmodeus

are clearly not equivalent. The second sentence of (4*) is outside the scope of ‘refers to’, whereas the relative clause of (4) is inside the scope.

To persuade you of this, consider “Jake says that a unicorn is in the attic” which is perfectly consistent with “unicorns do not exist”. Did Jake say that a non-existing thing was in the attic? I.e. did he utter “a unicorn that does not exist is in the attic”? No.

So what would be an example of reference failure? A name that occurs only once?

You shifted from 'refers' to 'says.' That muddies the waters. What Jake said is false.

>>(4*) ‘Asmodeus’ refers to something and there is no such thing as Asmodeus<< That is self-contradictoru.

If 'Asmodeus' refers to something, tell me what that thing is to which the name refers.

>So what would be an example of reference failure? A name that occurs only once?

That would be one. I give the example of a name occurring in a papyrus or stone inscription where the antecedent text has been lost. See p.197.

>You shifted from 'refers' to 'says.' That muddies the waters. What Jake said is false.

I did, but “Jake says that a unicorn is in the attic” is an instance of the two place predicate “– says that – is in the attic”. Are you suggesting that some two place predicates have a different logic from others? Then I agree. And what is the logic of the two place predicate “– is referring to –”? I claim that both predicates are intentional, aka non-existential, hence do not express a relation.

>If 'Asmodeus' refers to something, tell me what that thing is to which the name refers.

To Asmodeus of course! What’s the problem?

>That is self-contradictory.

Why? If “S is thinking about N but there is no such thing as N” is not self-contradictory, why should ‘refers to’ imply any contradiction, if ‘refers to’ is an intentional verb phrase? I’m not sure whether you are disagreeing with the concept of ‘intentional verb phrase’, or whether you accept it but think that ‘refers to’ does not fall into that class. Can you clarify which?

If the former, then you hold that ‘The Greeks worship Zeus’ is false if there is no such thing as Zeus. But I don’t think you hold that. It would be helpful to clarify.

No answer for now.

But you gave an answer earlier when you said that the move from “Jack is thinking of someone” to “there is someone Jack is thinking of” was not like the move from “Jack is pounding on someone” to “There is someone Jack is pounding on”. You said that the former obviously does not follow.

So you appeared to agree in late July 2021 with the distinction between ‘existentially loaded’ relational verb phrases, and non existentionally loaded or 'intentional' ones. Have you changed your mind?

>>But you gave an answer earlier when you said that the move from “Jack is thinking of someone” to “there is someone Jack is thinking of” was not like the move from “Jack is pounding on someone” to “There is someone Jack is pounding on”. You said that the former obviously does not follow.<<

Everybody agrees with that. I've said it myself a hundred times.

If John fears a ghost, it does not follow that there exists something, a ghost, that he fears. That is standard intentionality boilerplate. Now assume that there exist ghosts. It still does not follow. Same with rabid dogs. If John fears a rabid dog, it does not follow that there exists a rabid dog that he fears.

But you said, right above, that "‘Asmodeus’ refers to something and there is no such thing as Asmodeus" is a contradiction.

You are clearly assuming that 'refers to' is existentially loaded, but you haven't justified that assumption.

It is a contradiction for you, but not for Meinong.

You maintain both that 'Asmodeus' refers to something and that Asmodeus does not exist. Tell me what that something is. And don't say it is Asmodeus for that just repeats the problem. What sort of item is that something?

You deny that 'Asmodeus' refers to something that exists, and you deny the Meionngian theory that 'Asmodeus' refers to something that does not exist. So what is the difference between 'Asmodeus' refers to somwething and 'Asmodeus' refers to nothing?

Will you say that it is the difference between "Asmodeus' being a link in an anaphoric chain and not being such a link?

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