chapter  6
6 Pages

Rigidity and Direct Reference

In his seminal work Naming and Necessity, Kripke introduced the notion of a rigid designator (i.e., a term that refers to the same object in all possible worlds in which that object exists) and argued that simple terms such as proper names, demonstratives, pronouns, as well some general terms are rigid. This has led to the revitalization of Mill’s view that proper names have no connotation and has given rise to a wide literature in what is commonly referred to as Millianism or direct-reference theory. Kaplan introduced the notion of a singular proposition, although the idea is of course due to Russell, that is, a proposition that is expressed by a sentence containing a directly referential term. Today some philosophers hold that we can grasp such propositions that enable us to have singular thoughts. All of this debate concentrates predominantly on declarative sentences containing directly referential terms. In what follows, I wish to discuss in what way these ideas may apply to interrogative sentences and to inostensible terms, and more importantly what conclusions we could draw from this concerning curiosity.