What do proper names refer to? The simple sentence puzzle and identity statements

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to solve the simple sentence puzzle about proper names. (1) Superman leaps more tall buildings than Clark Kent. (2) Superman = Clark Kent. (3) Superman leaps more tall buildings than Superman. Even when (1) and (2) are true, (3) is false. It will be shown that this is not a real puzzle, because (i) (1) and (3) do not express singular propositions, and (ii) the identity statement in (2) only concerns singular propositions. In (1) and (3), the proper names refer to aspects of an individual at the level of explicature, while identity statements of the form X = Y mean that Y can be substituted for X salva veritate, only in singular propositions about X /Y. Given this difference in reference between (1)/(3) and (2), the conjunction of (1) and (2) does not entail (3), in accordance with our intuition.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence - JSAI-isAI 2015 Workshops, LENLS, JURISIN, AAA, HAT-MASH, TSDAA, ASD-HR, and SKL, Revised Selected Papers
PublisherSpringer-Verlag
Pages15-26
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9783319509525
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 1
Event7th JSAI International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, JSAI-isAI 2015 - Kanagawa, Japan
Duration: 2015 Nov 162015 Nov 18

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume10091 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349

Other

Other7th JSAI International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, JSAI-isAI 2015
CountryJapan
CityKanagawa
Period15/11/1615/11/18

Keywords

  • Identity statement
  • Proposition about aspects
  • Simple sentence puzzle
  • Singular proposition
  • Substitution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)

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  • Cite this

    Sakai, T. (2017). What do proper names refer to? The simple sentence puzzle and identity statements. In New Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence - JSAI-isAI 2015 Workshops, LENLS, JURISIN, AAA, HAT-MASH, TSDAA, ASD-HR, and SKL, Revised Selected Papers (pp. 15-26). (Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics); Vol. 10091 LNCS). Springer-Verlag. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-50953-2_2