Philosophy Hurts Your Head

The blog of a cranky Philosophy PhD Student from Newcastle, Australia.

Question: Rigid Designators and Necessity

Posted by Sam D on April 4, 2007

 If A and B are both rigid designators, and A = B, then A necessarily equals B (doesn’t it?)

If we can show that A does not necessarily equal B, then ( if they are rigid designators) we can say that A does not equal B.

But what if A or B is not a rigid designator? What can we take from that if someone is claiming this relationship of necessity? If one of them isn’t, then it seems to me that this relationship is destroyed. But we then can’t take the further step to say that  A does not equal B.

How generic can a rigid designator be?

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5 Responses to “Question: Rigid Designators and Necessity”

  1. mh said

    I don’t know – how generic can a rigid designator be?

  2. Sam D said

    I don’t know, that’s the point!
    JW thinks it is not a promising line of inquiry anyway. It’s a long story, but it will have to wait for the moment.

  3. mh said

    Two comments.

    If JW thinks it is not promising, is that not reason to give it some more serious consideration?

    Dare I say that this talk of designators suggests that you’re still looking at this problem in the wrong way?

  4. Sam D said

    It does not matter at the moment. It is a mistake, but such a seductive one that I wish I could find someone else to make it so I could ridicule them. All of this is due to the unfortunate side effect of my reading where I now think of Kripkes argument against materialism in Naming and Necessity any time that I hear someone say (in so many words) that “X is Y” or “X equals Y” or similar nonsense. Eg: The fact in virtue of which we mean…etc is a brain state/disposition etc. You can probably now see where I was going with this. This train of thought does hit a wall when it comes to the relationship between meaning and consciousness. But properly constructed it could show what Kripke has already concluded about meaning ascriptions, in a way that it has not been done before. So is it valuable or not? It’s too soon to tell.

  5. mh said

    Today, in scribbled marginalia, I accused a respected High Court justice of equivocation … Then I found that the case had been overruled so discovering his error is of no great use.

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