chapter  Chapter 4
6 Pages

The Sources of the Analysis of Referring Nouns as Predicates

WithHanoch Ben-Yami

Given the plausibility of analyzing common nouns in quantified noun phrases as referring expressions, and all the distinctions mentioned in the previous chapter between predication and reference by means of concepts, their analysis as logically predicative obviously stands in need of justification. We should see whether we can find any good reasons for this prima facie implausible analysis. However, one can hardly find any attempt at such a justification in contemporary works in logic. After the predicate calculus had established itself in logic, its translation of common nouns by predicates has generally been simply taken for granted. Yet when Frege first analyzed common nouns in the subject position as predicative, this novel analysis could hardly have been so taken. We should now examine his reasons for this analysis.