1980 NamingAndNecessity

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Subject Headings: Named Entity Mention, Reference, Rigid Designator, Lexical Semantics.


Cited By

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naming_and_Necessity
    • Naming and Necessity is a book by the philosopher Saul Kripke that was first published in 1980. The book is based on a transcript of three lectures given at Princeton University in 1970.
  • http://www.philosophyprofessor.com/philosophers/saul-kripke.php
    • He is best known for his attack on the descriptivist (Fregean, Russellian) theory of reference with respect to proper names, according to which a name refers to an object by virtue of the name's being associated with a description that the object in turn satisfies. He gave several examples purporting to render descriptivism implausible (e.g., surely Aristotle could have died at age two and so not satisfied any of the descriptions we associate with his name).
    • Saul Kripke proposed instead a causal theory of reference, according to which a name refers to an object by virtue of a causal connection with the object as mediated through communities of speakers. Kripke also raised the prospect of a posteriori necessities - facts that are necessarily true, though they can be known only through empirical investigation. Examples include “Hesperus is Phosphorus”, “Cicero is Tully”, and other identity claims where two names refer to the same object.


  • (Rory, 1980) ⇒ Richard Rorty. (1980). “Kripke versus Kant.” In: London Review of Books, 2(17).
    • QUOTE: Kripke tries to sober us up by denying that meaning determines reference. Rather, we name things by confronting them and baptising them, not by creating them out of a list of qualities. Names are not, pace Russell, shorthand for such lists. They are not abbreviations for descriptions, but (in Kripke’s coinage) ‘rigid designators’ – that is, they would name the same things in any possible world, including worlds in which their bearers did not have the properties we, in this world, use to identify them.


Lecture 1 - January 20, 1970


(p.48) Let's call something a rigid designator if in every possible world it designates the same object, a nonrigid or accidental designator if that is not the case. Of course we don't require that the objects exist in all possible worlds. Certainly Nixon might not have existed if his parents had not gotten married, in the normal course of things. When we think of a property as essential to an object we usually mean that it is true of that object in any case where it would have existed. A rigid designator of a necessary existent can be called strongly rigid.

One of the intuitive theses I will maintain in these talks is that names are rigid designators. Certainly they seem to satisfy the intuitive test mentioned above: although someone other than the U.S. President in 1970 might have been the U.S. President in 1970 (e.g. Humphrey might have), no other than Nixon might have been Nixon. In the same way, a designator rigidly designates a certain object if it designates that object wherever the object exists; if, in addition, the object is a necessary existent, the designator can be called 'strongly rigid.' For example, "the President of the U.S. in 1970" designates a certain man, Nixon; but someone else (e.g., Humphrey) might have been the President in 1970, and Nixon might not have; so this designator is not rigid.


  • Anscombe, Elizabeth. 1957. Intention. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
  • Byrne, Alex and Hall, Ned. (2004). 'Necessary Truths'. Boston Review October/November (2004). [2]
  • Kripke, Saul. 1972. 'Naming and Necessity'. In Davidson, Donald and Harman, Gilbert, eds., Semantics of Natural Language. Dordrecht: Reidel: 253-355, 763-769.
  • Kripke, Saul. 1977. 'Speaker’s Reference and Semantic Reference'. In Midwest Studies in Philosophy, vol. 2: 255-276.
  • Kripke, Saul. 1979. 'A Puzzle about Belief'. In Margalit, Avishai, ed., Meaning and Use. Dordrecht: Reidel: 239-283.
  • Kripke, Saul. (1980). Naming and Necessity. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  • Searle, John. R. 1958. 'Proper Names'. Mind 67: 166-73.
  • Soames, Scott. (2002). Beyond Rigidity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Soames, Scott. (2005). Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century: Volume 2: The Age of Meaning. Princeton University Press.
  • Strawson, Peter. 1959. Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics. London: Routledge.
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein. 1953. Philosophical Investigations. Anscombe, G. E. M., (transl.). MacMillan.,

 AuthorvolumeDate ValuetitletypejournaltitleUrldoinoteyear
1980 NamingAndNecessitySaul KripkeNaming and Necessityhttp://books.google.com/books?id=9vvAlOBfq0kC1980