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Kripke summarizes the Descriptivist “theory of naming” in the following theses (where Φ is a cluster of properties, A is an individual engaged in naming a thing, and X is the name) 1. To every name or designation expression X, there corresponds a cluster of properties Φ such that A believes Φ applies to X (i.e., ΦX) 2. One, or some cluster, of the properties Φ, are believed by A to pick out some individual uniquely. 3. If “a weighted most” of the Φs are satisfied by one unique object y, then y is the referent of the name X. 4. If no unique object is described by the “weighted most”, then X does not refer. 5. The statement “If X exists, then X has most of the Φs” is known a priori by the speaker. 6. The statement “If X exists, then X has most of the Φs” expresses a necessary truth. Recall that Searle’s reason for coming up with a Cluster theory of descriptions was that he wanted to avoid the following problem: For any single description (say, “the teacher of Alexander the Great”) if we say that description corresponds with, is “meant by” or is equivalent to, a name (Aristotle), then the statement “the name is the description” (“Aristotle is the teacher of Alexander the Great”) is necessarily true. BUT (says Searle) it is not necessarily true that Aristotle taught Alexander (Aristotle might have died young or joined the army, but still have been Aristotle). That’s why names can’t be associated with any particular descriptions, and must be a purposely vague cluster instead. What Searle does allow is that:
It is a necessary fact that Aristotle has the logical sum, inclusive disjunction, of properties commonly attributed to him: any individual not having at least some of these properties could not be Aristotle. [591, quoted by Kripke on 611]
This is Thesis 6 on Kripke’s list, and he just denies it:
It would seem that it’s a contingent fact that Aristotle ever did any of the things commonly attributed to him today, any of those great achievements that we so much admire. 
That is, on Kripke’s view, Aristotle could in fact have been the guy in Hoboken in 1902 that Searle dismisses as a candidate  – and even stronger, he could have been that guy and not even have been called “Aristotle.” Kripke even denies that the famous original Metre that exists in France today (the stick that set the standard length for the metre) might not have been a metre long. To explain this view, we need to understand Kripke’s concept of a rigid designator to which he alludes on p. 612. This is defined earlier in Naming and Necessity, and not explained here, but essentially, a rigid designator is a referring expression that picks out the same thing in all possible worlds (in which it exists). To explain this, we need to understand the notion of possible worlds. The term goes back to Leibniz, but was re-
“I still think [the user] use the name ‘Feynman’ as a name for Feynman”. we know of Relativity that it is Einstein’s Theory. an infinity) of possible worlds in which you are President of the United States. (This sounds like Donellan’s attributive use of definite descriptions. Kripke allows that there are some occasions when we do do this. says Kripke.) Why Thesis (2) is false  According to Thesis 2. Because there is an infinity of possible worlds. But. On Kripke’s view all proper names are rigid designators (there are others too. Something is necessary if it is true in all possible worlds. and we know of Einstein that he’s “the guy who came up with relativity. the ugliest. except for one tiny detail (say. and gives the example of the name Jack the Ripper which applies to whomever killed the prostitutes in Victorian London. despite all this. in which you are exactly like you are now. only here applied to proper names. one fewer hair on your head). and was intended to do just that. then using a certain word as a name for the object determined by this condition. Thus. most people only know of Richard Feynman that he is (was) a theoretical physicist. Yet they would not deny that that same description (“a theoretical physicist”) applies equally to Gell-Mann. where you are a bum. superhero or whatever). etc. the most beautiful. That’s the entirety of their “cluster of properties” for that name. etc. There are even some worlds in which you don’t exist at all – which is why we say of rigid designators that they refer to the same thing in all possible worlds where it exists. [Is he right to do so?] What “picture of naming” remains if we just hold theses 1-5? Kripke suggests it is naming as a “sort of mental ceremony” : By ‘Cicero’ I shall mean the man who denounced Catiline. That is what a rigid designator does. claims involving logical possibility and necessity). we believe that the cluster of properties we associate with a name pick out an individual uniquely. The fact that we can say all this requires that we be able to pick you out in all possible worlds (so that we can say you are President. There are possible worlds much “closer” (in the sense of resembling) to this one.discovered and exploited as a way of understanding modal claims (that is. Something is possible if there is at least one possible world in which it is true. but as ways things might have been. and you could exists in some without having any of the features you have on this actual world. you could have any feature on one of them. but all proper names count). giving some condition which uniquely determines an object. and that’s what the reference of ‘Cicero’ will be… my intentions are given by first. Think of possible worlds not as planets.. there is at least one (in fact. the oldest. where you are the richest person in the world. There are possible worlds where you are superhero. (For example. That’s why Kripke denies thesis 6. However. (And even in cases where we do have a description that picks out an individual uniquely – say “the man who denounced Catiline” – it is often the case that what we know about that description is only that it applies to the person (Cicero) so we have a circular definition.”) . the poorest.
Can the theory be saved? Suggestion: when I do my “mental ceremony” I say “By Cicero I shall mean ‘the man who most people think proved the incompleteness of arithmetic. A certain passage of communication reaching ultimately to the man himself does reach the speaker. Nonetheless. then most users of the name “Gödel” would in fact be using it to refer to Schmidt. most people who use the name only attach to it the description “the person who proved the incompleteness of arithmetic”. If Thesis 3 were true. imagine someone thinks only of Einstein as “the inventor of the A-Bomb” (not true) they still refer to Einstein by using “Einstein”. I am the only one who still believes that Peano discovered the “Peano” axioms actually discovered by Dedekind – everyone else knows better.Why Thesis (3) is false [617-619] According to Thesis 3. I hardly know that a priori. The Causal Theory of Reference [622-] In fact. is born. (Second example: Peano and Dedekind ).” Still open to Peano/Dedekind-type counterexamples. But suppose in fact Schmidt proved it and Gödel murdered him and stole the credit. A speaker who is on the far end of this chain. suppose nobody proved incompleteness (“perhaps the proof simply materialized by a random scattering of atoms on a piece of paper” or the proof doesn’t actually work). so Thesis 3 is false. then if “a weighted most” of those descriptions are true of an object. say Richard Feynman. may be referring to Richard Feynman even though he can’t remember from whom he first heard of Feynman or from whom he ever heard of Feynman. Why Thesis (5) is false  Even where theses 3 and 4 happen to be true. let’s say. in the market place or elsewhere. who has heard about. Or. But what about no object? Well. if I associate a cluster of descriptions with the name “Gödel”. ALSO: apparently Jonah really existed. even though he never actually was in a whale or preached to the Ninevites (the two descriptions most people know him by). But they are not. his parents call him by a certain name. The case of Feynman and Gell Mann is one where there is no unique object. For Gödel. when I use “Peano” I still refer to Peano and not Dedekind. and reference is achieved through public community-controlled methods: Someone. Through various sorts of talk the name is spread from link to link as if by a chain. He knows that Feynman is a famous physicist. the “private” reference-fixing depicted by the “mental ceremony” picture is wrong. and I really do know that Gödel proved incompleteness. Why Thesis (4) is false  Thesis 4 is the claim that “if the vote yields no unique object the name does not refer”. you could still refer to Gödel with the description “the man who proved incompleteness”. He then is referring to Feynman even though he can’t identify him uniquely… a . They talk about him to their friends. it must be Gödel. a baby. Only in this case. Other people meet him.
Interestingly. which means that “Hesperus is Phosphorus” is true in all possible worlds. because he doesn’t give necessary and sufficient conditions for fixing reference.  (Apparently only men use names.  A “rough statement” of a theory might include two steps: 1. An initial “baptism” 2. I do not satisfy this condition. There may be a causal chain from our use of the term ‘Santa Claus’ to a certain historical saint. that we refer to a certain man. although a necessary truth is not known a priori. If I hear the name ‘Napoleon’ and decide it would be a nice name for my pet aardvark. and things like that. “Hesperus is Phosphorus”. by this time probably do not refer to that saint. What can be said is that: It’s in virtue of our connection with other speakers in the community.  In general our reference depends not just on what we think ourselves.chain of communication going back to Feynman himself has been established. when they use this. . He even brings up apparent counterexamples: Not every sort of causal chain reaching from me to a certain man will do for me to make a reference. going back to the referent himself. but still the children. not by a ceremony that he makes in private in his study  Kripke resists calling this a “theory”. Thus there can be necessary truths known a posteriori. while “Benjamin Franklin” picks him out in all worlds (that he exists in).) Statements of Identity [626-631] According to Kripke. names are rigid designators. but on other people in the community. That means “Hesperus is the evening star” is a contingent truth. that is. the history of how the name reached one. [623-4] What he is giving is instead “a better picture” than the one presented by Theses 1-5. In contrast. When this happens: the receiver of the name must…intend when he learns it to use it with the same reference as the man from whom he heard it. by virtue of his membership in a community which passed the name on from link to link. descriptions are flaccid designators. A process whereby the name is ‘passed from link to link’. only picking out the thing that matches the description in all worlds. Thus “the inventor of bifocals” picks out Benjamin Franklin in this world but not in other possible worlds. and thus a necessary truth.
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