Philosophical Studies

, Volume 122, Issue 3, pp 227–241

Property Designators, Predicates, and Rigidity


DOI: 10.1007/s11098-005-1292-y

Cite this article as:
Schnieder, B.S. Philos Stud (2005) 122: 227. doi:10.1007/s11098-005-1292-y


The article discusses an idea of how to extend the notion of rigidity to predicates, namely the idea that predicates stand in a certain systematic semantic relation to properties, such that this relation may hold rigidly or nonrigidly. The relation (which I call signification) can be characterised by recourse to canonical property designators which are derived from predicates (or general terms) by means of nominalization: a predicate signifies that property which the derived property designator designates. Whether signification divides into rigid and non-rigid cases will then depend uponwhether canonical property designators divide into rigid and non-rigid ones. But, I shall argue, they do not, and so the only notion of rigidity gained this way is trivial. To show this, I first focus on the kind of canonical property designators which could be thought to be nonrigid, canonical designators such as “having the colour of ripe tomatoes” which themselves contain non-rigid property designators. An argument to the effect that such complex canonical designators are non-rigid is rebutted, five arguments to the effect that they are rigid are formulated, and finally an explanation of their rigidity based on the general nature of canonical property designators is presented.

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany

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