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Volume 21, 2005

Compositionality, Concepts and Representations I

Tim Kenyon
Pages 148-159

Are Names Ambiguous?

It is widely held that proper names are ambiguous in some sense, a view commonly associated with the theory that names are, when suitably idealized, semantically “rigid designators”. In this brief paper I suggest that, while some refinement of the concept of a name is surely appropriate, proper names do not very clearly meet the standards normally used to determine ambiguity. There is reason to regard shared names as semantically univocal, including some evidence from development linguistics to regard a grasp of names as having a metalinguistic descriptive aspect.

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