, Volume 150, Issue 2, pp 155-169

Proto-Rigidity*

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Abstract

What is it for a predicate or a general term to be a rigid designator? Two strategies for answering this question can be found in the literature, but both run into severe difficulties. In this paper, it is suggested that proper names and the usual examples of rigid predicates share a semantic feature which does the theoretical work usually attributed to rigidity. This feature cannot be equated with rigidity, but in the case of singular terms this feature entails their rigidity, as understood in the standard characterisation. Hence, it is appropriate to call this feature proto-rigidity.

*Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the University of Turku, at the 3rd Barcelona Workshop on Issues in the Theory of Reference: General Terms, and at the Joint Session of the Mind Association and Aristotelian Society at Queen’s University, Belfast, all in 2003. I am grateful to the audiences for discussion. I also want to thank John Biro, Arto Repo, an anonymous referee, and especially Dan Lopez de Sa for helpful comments on earlier written versions. This work has been financially supported by the Academy of Finland (projects 52379 & 202513).