Direct Reference Theory - Saul Kripke

Saul Kripke

Saul Kripke defended direct reference theory when applied to proper names. Kripke claims that proper names do not have any "senses" at all, because senses only offer contingent facts about things.

Kripke articulated this view using the formal apparatus of possible worlds. The possible worlds thought-experiment first takes the subject, and then tries to imagine the subject in other possible worlds. Taking George W. Bush, for example. First (1) the thought-experiment must state that the name "George W. Bush" is the name used to describe the particular individual man that is typically meant. Then (2), the experimenter must imagine the possible states of affairs that reality could have been - where Bush was not president, or went into a different career, was never born at all, etc. When this is done, it becomes obvious that the phrase "President of the United States in 2004" does not necessarily describe George W. Bush, because it is not necessarily true in all possible worlds; it only contingently describes him. By contrast, for instance, the word "apple" will always describe the same things across all possible worlds, because of premise (1). So use of the word "apple" to describe apples is true in all possible worlds.

Terms that are true across all possible worlds in this way are called "rigid designators".

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Famous quotes by saul kripke:

    ... [f]or a sensation to be felt as pain is for it to be pain.
    Saul Kripke (b. 1940)