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The Journal of Philosophy

Volume 115, Issue 10, October 2018

Michael Johnson
Pages 550-566

Pure Quotation and Natural Naming

The name theory has largely been discarded in the literature on quotation. In this paper, I resurrect the theory under the heading of the natural name theory. According to the natural name theory, a pure quotation is a natural, rather than an arbitrary, name of a linguistic item. As with other natural names, like onomatopoeia, pure quotations resemble their referents. I argue that this observation allows us to deflate the arguments traditionally thought to undermine the name theory. Then I argue for the “multiplicity thesis,” that pure quotations name a wide variety of linguistic items, such as expression types, graphemes, spellings, phonemes, pronunciations, meanings, and senses. Then I show that while the natural name theory easily accommodates the multiplicity thesis, none of the major, viable alternatives to it likewise do.

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