, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 785-807
Date: 24 Sep 2011

A Cognitive Theory of Empty Names

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Abstract

Ordinary use of empty names encompasses a variety of different phenomena, including issues in semantics, mental content, fiction, pretense, and linguistic practice. In this paper I offer a novel account of empty names, the cognitive theory, and show how it offers a satisfactory account of the phenomena. The virtues of this theory are based on its strength and parsimony. It allows for a fully homogeneous semantic treatment of names coped with ontological frugality and empirical and psychological adequacy.

The author would like to thank Marilyn Shatz, Kirareset Barrera, Ángeles Eraña, Axel Barceló, Claudia Lorena García, and two anonymous referees of this journal for substantially improving this paper with their comments. Thanks also to Agustín Rayo, Ricardo Mena, Raúl Saucedo and the attendants at the 2nd meeting of the AAMPh at CUNY, the associate students at my empty names seminar, as well as to the members of the Thursdays’ Seminar at the Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas, UNAM. The author was supported by the research projects: CONACYT-083004, PAPIIT-IN401611, and PAPIIT-IN401411.