Workshop on Intuitions, Mind and Language

When:9 Apr 2015, 9am - 5:30pm
Venue:Central Lecture Block 4, UNSW Australia (Map Ref E19)
Who:Various with Professor Michael Devitt (City University New York)
Michael Devitt

The Workshop will include papers on a range of contemporary issues in philosophy of mind, language and epistemology. Topics include reasoning, externalism, referentialism, Gettier intuitions and proper names

Keynote Lecture: Michael Devitt, Distinguished Professor, Graduate Center, CUNY

Michael Devitt Abstract

Should there still be a problem about the meaning of proper names?

What determines the reference of a proper name? What is the meaning of a proper name? In undergraduate lectures at Harvard in 1967, later published in Naming and Necessity, Saul Kripke presented a radically new “picture” in answer to the reference question. Andrea Bianchi claims that “forty years later, we do not possess a fully blown theory built on his picture.” In this paper I start by summarizing a theory of that form based on developments of Kripke’s picture that I made in Designation and elsewhere. Kripke did not answer the meaning question but many influenced by him have adopted “direct reference”. My own answer was that a name’s meaning is its causal mode of reference. This strikes many as a shocking idea. I argued that it should not be. Interestingly, the idea has recently been urged, with much the same argument, by David Kaplan. Finally, I discuss the meaning of “descriptive names”. I conclude that there should not still be a problem about the meaning of proper names

Workshop Program

9:00 – 10:00 Markos Valaris: What Reasoning Might Be

10:00 – 11:00 Eran Asoulin: The explanatory role of externalism

11:00 – 11:20 MORNING TEA

11:20 – 12:20 Max Rabie: Making sense of Keith Donnellan's referential/attributive distinction

12:20 – 1:20 LUNCH

1:20 – 2:20 Stephen Hetherington: Are Gettier intuitions expressions of infallibilism?

2:20 – 3:20 Michael Devitt: Should there still be a problem about the meaning of proper names?

3:20 – 3:40 AFTERNOON TEA

3:40 – 4:40 Peter Slezak: Naturalizing Proper Names: The Omniscient Observer

4:40 – 5:30 Michael Devitt: Responses and discussion.

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Event Contact: Peter Slezak 

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