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Naming and Necessity by Saul A. If there is such a thing as essential reading in metaphysics or in philosophy of language, this is it. Ever since the publication of its original version, "Naming and Necessity" has had great and increasing influence.
It redirected philosophical attention to neglected questions of natural and metaphysical necessity and to the connections between these and theories of refere If there is such a thing as essential reading in metaphysics or in philosophy of language, this is it. It redirected philosophical attention to neglected questions of natural and metaphysical necessity and to the connections between these and theories of reference, in particular of naming, and of identity.
From a critique of the dominant tendency to assimilate names to descriptions and more generally to treat their reference as a function of their Fregean sense, surprisingly deep and widespread consequences may be drawn. The largely discredited distinction between accidental and essential properties, both of individual things including people and of kinds of things, is revived.
So is a consequent view of science as what seeks out the essences of natural kinds. Traditional objections to such views are dealt with by sharpening distinctions between epistemic and metaphysical necessity; in particular by the startling admission of necessary a posteriori truths.
From these, in particular from identity statements using rigid designators whether of things or of kinds, further remarkable consequences are drawn for the natures of things, of people, and of kinds; strong objections follow, for example to identity versions of materialism as a theory of the mind. This seminal work, to which today's thriving essentialist metaphysics largely owes its impetus, is here published with a substantial new Preface by the author.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published April 15th by Harvard University Press first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Naming and Necessity , please sign up. Lists with This Book.
Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Naming and Necessity. Jun 24, Manny rated it liked it Shelves: linguistics-and-philosophy. As you can see if you read the other reviews, there are a lot of ways to approach Naming and Necessity , and some of them get into very technical philosophical territory.
Those ways of reading it are interesting, but I think that what Kripke is saying is, in the end, quite simple, which is why the book has enjoyed such lasting popularity. He just had to express much of the argument in terms of the language of "possible worlds", which was fashionable at the time. Kripke's basic point, to me, is rat As you can see if you read the other reviews, there are a lot of ways to approach Naming and Necessity , and some of them get into very technical philosophical territory.
Kripke's basic point, to me, is rather more general than technicalities about modal logic and possible worlds. He wants to know what "names" are, and how they refer to the world. There was an influential school of thought which held that a name is really a kind of description, and should be thought of in those terms; you know what the name refers to by understanding the description and figuring out who it names.
Thus, for example, the expression "Barack Obama" is semantically similar to the expression "the current President of the United States". Kripke disagrees with this. He argues persuasively that names refer to things by virtue of causal processes in the world. There is a causal chain that leads from the object to the name, and which carried reference. Names do not have to be descriptions for this to work. So, for example, suppose you're having a discussion about Obama with a friend in front of their three year old child, and you've just said you're disappointed that Obama hasn't closed Guantanamo.
The child, who's never heard of Obama, can legitimately interrupt and ask if Obama is a nice man, and still be referring to him, which to me is the common-sense view. The causal chain led up to me, and now it's just been extended another step. It doesn't matter that the child only has the haziest notion of who it is I'm talking about.
When Kripke wrote the book, computers were not as important as they are now, and there was no Internet. It occurs to me to wonder if this isn't a case where adopting the perspective of the machine gives you a new way to think about what's going on.
The Web is full of names; many of them refer to something in the world. How do they do this? Suppose we're looking at a table on a web page, we see a name, and we wonder what it refers to.
Even if the table has been automatically generated, it is often perfectly clear what the name's reference is because of the way the page connects to the world. Reference is derived from a causal relationship mediated through the Web. Or at least, that was the argument I had in mind when I started writing this review.
But now it occurs to me that you can maybe twist it in the opposite direction. We all know the difference between a plain name and a clickable one, and the reason is that the name's much longer than it looks; it's really a camouflaged description. Damn philosophical questions!
You never get a straight answer. For a moment, I thought I had something there. The only defect I think it has is probably common to all philosophical theories. Like many other works of philosophy and those of other subjects, for that matter , Naming and Necessity will likely be perplexing if you do not know what the author is arguing against.
At the time that Kripke gave these lectures, the dominant theory in the philosophy of language was the Frege-Russell theory of reference. But I will explain it briefly. Essentially, the idea is that names are shorthand descriptions. This way of analyzing names was, I believe, partly adopted because it carried no ontological commitment. That is paradoxical. Thus, by specifying the criteria, lots of annoying existential questions can be side-stepped.
Nevertheless, I think that most people, when they first learn of this theory, feel a bit uncomfortable with it. The theory just is not intuitive. Kripke is essentially arguing that our intuition is correct. I think it is very heavy evidence in favor of anything, myself. Seeing as Kripke is not fond of theories as the opening quote shows and is quite fond of intuition, this puts him into a bit of a pickle, for how is he supposed to argue against the theory?
Suppose that someone presumably with far too much time and money on their hands, and with a questionable sensitivity to animal rights decided to take some lions from Africa and introduce them into Asia. Suppose he is even such a genius animal trainer that he trains these lions to behave indistinguishably from tigers.
Now we return to the above example. But it is not true. Kripke is really reviving the old notion of essentialism: names pick out the object that possesses the essential property associated with that name. In the case of lions and tigers, I suppose the essential quality would be their genotypes.
Thus, the essential property of a type of thing need not be the qualities by which we normally identify the thing. We normally identify lions and tigers by the way they look and act, but the above example shows that even those qualities are contingent; it is their respective essences their genotypes in this case which are the necessary qualities of tigers and lions.
This leads Kripke to disagree with another engrained philosophical idea the second N of the title : that 'necessary' and ' a priori ' are synonyms. It was thought that only necessary truths could be known a priori , and only a priori truths were necessary.
In other words, you could only be certain about things you knew independently of experience. This restriction of necessary statements to trivial tautologies was, I think, a way of fighting against obscure metaphysical arguments, such as the ontological argument for the existence of God.
Kripke, as I said, disagrees with this line of thinking. For Kripke, things can be known a priori that are not necessary, and things can be necessary and learned empirically or a posteriori. The case of the genotypes of lions and tigers is a case in point; it took a long time to discover DNA, and to create the tools needed to investigate it in depth.
DNA was, in other words, obviously learned of empirically.
El nombrar y la necesidad
Important User Information: Remote access to EBSCO's databases is permitted to patrons of subscribing institutions accessing from remote locations for personal, non-commercial use. However, remote access to EBSCO's databases from non-subscribing institutions is not allowed if the purpose of the use is for commercial gain through cost reduction or avoidance for a non-subscribing institution. Source: Escritos. Abstract: Between January and February of , the American philosopher Saul Kripke delivered three significant lectures at Princeton University which were published as Naming and Necessity. In those lectures, in addition to criticising the descriptive theories, topics of major importance such as names, reference, rigidity, modality and necessity were raised.
Naming and Necessity