Volume 4, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2589-1588
  • E-ISSN: 2589-1596
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In this contribution, we offer a contextualist analysis of names whereby a name N is used as a felicitous referential term in all and only those contexts of utterance in which N is intended to refer to a unique referent by all cognitive agents that are relevant in the context. This analysis has important across-the-board virtues. It reduces the distance between common nouns and names, under the insight that names are a highly specific case of a more general phenomenon consisting in the pragmatic modulation of the meaning of common nouns. It successfully ties to an important body of syntactic evidence, and contributes to elucidate, in an original and productive manner, many of the unsolved issues concerning the syntactic structure of (complex) names. Finally, it makes a number of philosophical puzzles virtually dissolve without giving up rigid reference for names, but crucially suggesting that the causal theory of reference becomes far-fetched once the linguistic structure of names and their actual use in language and cognition have been carefully evaluated.


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