The naked ‘duchess’: names are titles

Linguistics and Philosophy 42 (4):349-379 (2019)


In her recent defense of predicativism for proper names, Delia Graff Fara proposes the following non-metalinguistic being-called condition for the applicability of names as predicates: A name ‘N’ is true of a thing if and only if it is called N. The BCC is supposed to hold for names only. In this essay I criticize Fara’s BCC by arguing that the word ‘called’ is ambiguous, and that the BCC holds only for the particular sense of ‘calling’ as naming. I revise accordingly Fara’s BCC and propose in its place a non-metalinguistic being-named condition. I also argue, against Fara, that being-named conditions are not unique to proper names: they hold for mass nouns, common count nouns, as well as for family names, which I distinguish from surnames. Finally, I discuss honorific titles and propose a being-entitled condition according to which a title ‘T’ is true of a thing just in case it is dubbed T. I conclude the paper with pragmatic, syntactic, as well as semantic considerations in favor of the thesis that names are a subspecies of non-hereditary, honorific titles.

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Roberta Ballarin
University of British Columbia

References found in this work

Naming and Necessity.S. Kripke - 1972 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 45 (4):665-666.
Naming and Necessity.Saul A. Kripke - 1980 - Philosophy 56 (217):431-433.
Names Are Predicates.Delia Graff Fara - 2015 - Philosophical Review 124 (1):59-117.
Reference and Proper Names.Tyler Burge - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (14):425-439.

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