THE ONTOLOGICAL STATUS OF REFERENTS OF PROPER NAMES

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Transliteration of original Title: 
Ontologičeskij status referentov sobstvennyh imen
Author(s): 
Alexander Nikiforov
Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences
Issue number: 
No. 2 (Vol. 32)
Pages: 
50-58
Abstract: 

The author argues that logical semantics and formal semantics of natural language are ill-grounded in treating objects or sets of objects as referents of linguistic expessions. The problem with this treatment is in the nature of the so-called objects, their ontological status. A case is made for the referents of proper names which are considered to be concrete singular objects. The author states that not such isolated objects can be determined because of the factors of constant change of what we call objects as well as the differences in senses assigned to one and the same proper names by different people and/or in difference context. Another illustration is made with names of events. The author aruges that the referent of such a name as "the Battle of Stalingrad" is intrinsically non-concrete and cannot be presented as a single object in principle. Critical conculsions are made about the fundamentals of contemporary formal approaches to semantics.

Keywords: 
ontology, proper names, logical semantics, abstract objects
References: 

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Carlson G.N. Reference to Kinds in English: doctoral dissertation. Amherst: University of Massachusetts, 1977.

Genericity: An Introduction. The Generic Book. M. Krifka [et al]. G. Carlson, F.J. Pelletier (eds.). Chicago; L.: University of Chicago Press, 1995. P. 1–95.