Single Idea 5829

[catalogued under 5. Theory of Logic / F. Referring in Logic / 1. Naming / b. Names as descriptive]

Full Idea

We can refer to Thales by using the name "Thales" even though perhaps the only description we can supply is false of him.


Thales was said to have been the first ever philosopher

Gist of Idea

We refer to Thales successfully by name, even if all descriptions of him are false


Stephen P. Schwartz (Intro to Naming,Necessity and Natural Kinds [1977], žIII)

Book Reference

'Naming, Necessity, and Natural Kinds', ed/tr. Schwartz,Stephen P. [Cornell 1979], p.22

A Reaction

It is not clear what we would be referring to if all of our descriptions (even 'Greek philosopher') were false. If an archaeologist finds just a scrap of stone with a name written on it, that is hardly a sufficient basis for successful reference.