Journal of Philosophical Logic 37 (3):239-257 (2008)

Greg Frost-Arnold
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
The logic of singular terms that refer to nothing, such as ‘Santa Claus,’ has been studied extensively under the heading of free logic. The present essay examines expressions whose reference is defective in a different way: they signify more than one entity. The bulk of the effort aims to develop an acceptable formal semantics based upon an intuitive idea introduced informally by Hartry Field and discussed by Joseph Camp; the basic strategy is to use supervaluations. This idea, as it stands, encounters difficulties, but with suitable refinements it can be salvaged. Two other options for a formal semantics of multiply signifying terms are also presented, and I discuss the relative merits of the three semantics briefly. Finally, possible modifications to the standard logical regimentation of the notion of existence are considered.
Keywords ambiguity  confusion  existence  reference  supervaluation
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DOI 10.1007/s10992-007-9067-x
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References found in this work BETA

Meaning and Necessity: A Study in Semantics and Modal Logic.Rudolf Carnap - 1947 - Chicago, IL, USA: University of Chicago Press.
Vagueness, Truth and Logic.Kit Fine - 1975 - Synthese 30 (3-4):265-300.
On Clear and Confused Ideas: An Essay About Substance Concepts.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2000 - Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.
Theory Change and the Indeterminacy of Reference.Hartry Field - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (14):462-481.

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Citations of this work BETA

Blurring: An Approach to Conflation.David Ripley - 2018 - Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 59 (2):171-188.
Confused Terms in Ordinary Language.Greg Frost-Arnold & James R. Beebe - 2020 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 29 (2):197-219.
Vagueness in a Kind of Conflation.David Ripley - 2017 - Logic and Logical Philosophy 26 (1):115-135.

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