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All Designators are Rigid

Noonan, Harold

All Designators are Rigid Thumbnail


Professor of Mind and Cognition


In Naming and Necessity Kripke introduces the concept of a rigid designator and argues that proper names are rigid designators. He argues that in this way they are different from typical definite descriptions (though he allows that some definite descriptions, e.g., 'the actual winner of the lottery', 'the square of 3', are rigid designators). His opponents have either argued that names can be regarded as abbreviations of rigid descriptions (e.g., 'actualized' ones) or have tried to deny that names are rigid designators. I shall argue that no unambiguous descriptions are non-rigid. All unambiguous descriptions are rigid. The appearance of non-rigidity in descriptions is simply an illusion, a manifestation of ambiguity. I shall then go on to show that an explanation of the difficulty which has been found in extending the rigid/non-rigid distinction from singular terms to predicates follows.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 16, 2022
Online Publication Date Jul 13, 2022
Publication Date Apr 13, 2023
Deposit Date May 18, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jul 14, 2023
Journal Metaphysica
Print ISSN 1437-2053
Electronic ISSN 1874-6373
Publisher Walter de Gruyter GmbH
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 1
Pages 101-107
Keywords Philosophy
Public URL
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