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Linguistics and Philosophy

, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 557–576 | Cite as

In defense of the unification argument for predicativism

  • Sajed Tayebi
Article

Abstract

The unification argument, usually regarded as the main argument for predicativism about proper names, has recently been attacked by Robin Jeshion. According to Jeshion, the unification argument is based on the assumption of the literality of predicative uses of proper names in statements such as “There is one Alfred in Princeton.” In such a use, a proper name ‘N’ is used predicatively to denote those, and only those, objects called N. As Jeshion argues, however, there are many other examples in which a proper name ‘N’ is used predicatively to denote objects which are not called N. Based on such cases, Jeshion challenges the predicativist to provide a justification for assuming that the original predicative use of proper names, to which the predicativist appeals in the unification argument, is literal. My aim in this paper is to defend predicativism by arguing that the predicativist’s assumption is well motivated. To this end, I first present the unification argument for predicativism and Jeshion’s challenge to it. Then, I argue that the answer provided by Delia Graff Fara to Jeshion’s challenge is unsatisfactory. Finally, I meet Jeshion’s challenge by extending the phenomena highlighted in Jeshion’s examples to the referential uses of proper names.

Keywords

Predicativism Referentialism Proper names Predicates Robin Jeshion 

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PhilosophyInstitute for Research in Fundamental Sciences (IPM)Niavaran, TehranIran

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