Philosophy Research Archives

Volume 1, 1975

Charles E. Jarrett
Pages 181-207

On Proper Names

The main goal of this paper is to show that in Speech Acts, two of John Searle’s arguments fail to establish his thesis that proper names have sense, or descriptive content. It is argued, by considering counterexamples, that Searle’s test for the analyticity of statements is inadequate, that the argument from the "principle of identification" is therefore mistaken, and that, because of lack of attention to the distinction between meaning and sense (descriptive content), the argument from identity statements fails to establish the conclusion. Hence the arguments based on identification and identity statements are unsuccessful.