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ERIC Number: ED517006
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 181
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1097-3182-8
Proper Names a Cognitive-Philosophical Study
Garcia-Ramirez, Eduardo
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Michigan
Proper Names appear at the heart of several debates in philosophy and the cognitive sciences. These include "reference", "intentionality", and the nature of "belief" as well as "language acquisition", "cognitive development", and "memory". This dissertation follows a cognitive approach to the philosophical problems posed by proper names. It puts an emphasis on adequately describing the actual cognitive abilities that allow humans to understand and use proper names. To achieve this goal I use the evidence obtained by cognitive and neuropsychology as well as psycholinguistics. The result is an empirically informed and integrative theory of reference, language use and intentionality, and some metaphysics and epistemology thereof. Chapter 2 argues against descriptivism and partly develops a theory according to which an understanding of "reference" is prelinguistic and requires no mediating descriptive intensions. The theory, which is consistent with a referentialist semantics for names, is supported by empirical data from lexical, cognitive and neuropsychological research on the acquisition, understanding and processing of proper names. If correct, this theory has important consequences for the debate concerning the possibility of singular thought. Chapter 3 describes the relation between proper name use and the structure of belief by reflecting on the intimate connection between the puzzles of "informativeness" and "substitution failure". Chapter 4 offers a psychological and linguistic resolution of the puzzles. It offers an account of the psychological architecture involved in proper name processing and shows how it interacts with a linguistic account of how proper names are used in tandem with predicate meaning-transfer. Chapter 5 offers a theory of empty names by using some cognitive-general, non-linguistic, resources. A special kind of mental representational state (i.e., EDU-attitudes) and its content (i.e., EDUs) is described and applied. By solving the problems posed by the ordinary use of empty names, the theory helps illuminate issues in metaphysics, ontology, intentionality, and fictional imaginings. Chapter 5 also offers a metalinguistic account of negative existential assertions (e.g., utterances of the form "X doesn't exist"). This account helps us avoid a common dilemma between a controversial ontology and an unsatisfactory linguistic theory. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A