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Paper   IPM / Philosophy / 13132
School of Analytic Philosophy
  Title:   Pragmatics of No Reference
  Author(s):  Seyed N. Mousavian
  Status:   Published
  Journal: Mind and Language
  No.:  1
  Vol.:  30
  Year:  2015
  Pages:   95-116
  Supported by:  IPM
According to Millianism, the semantic content of a proper name is its semantic referent. Many names, however, lack semantic referent; hence, so-called 'empty' names. Empty names raise various problems for Millianism. T.C. Ryckman, Fred Adams, Garry Fuller, Robert Stecker, Kenneth Taylor, and Nicole Wyatt, among others, have defended Millianism against these problems by appeal to pragmatics (Pragmatic Millianism). In section I, I will introduce Millianism and the problems raised by empty names for the view. Section II is devoted to the study of Pragmatic Millianism (PM), its strength (II.I), its varieties (II.II), and why the previous arguments against PM do not succeed (II.III). In section III, I will provide a new argument against PM: the view oversimplifies the complex phenomenon of association between names and descriptions. In section IV, I will discuss an objection to my argument and rebut that. Finally, in section V, I will try to draw an outline of a positive view.

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