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The Semantic Function of Descriptions Associated with Proper Names: Comments on Kripke’s Criticism of Searle

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The aim of this paper is to defend Searle’s view on the semantic role that descriptions associated with proper names play in real contexts. Through an analysis of Kripke’s critique of Searle’s views, I reach the conclusion that Kripke;s criticism is based upon a misinterpretation of Searle’s ideas. Searle tried to answer the question “what is the object named as such?” That is different from the question that Kripke attributed to the descriptivists, i.e. “what are the necessary criteria to identify the referent of a name in every possible world?” I think Searle’s question is also a question that Kripke’s Causal Theory of Names has to answer, i.e. how a name transmits through a linguistic community.


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