All the Superhero’s Names Cover Image

All the Superhero’s Names
All the Superhero’s Names

Author(s): Olga Poller
Subject(s): Philosophy, Semiotics / Semiology, Philosophy of Language, Cognitive Psychology
Published by: Polskie Towarzystwo Semiotyczne
Keywords: The Superman Puzzle; proper names; substitution failure; qualifying prepositional phrases; modified predicates; descriptivism; adjuncts; pseudonyms; simple sentences

Summary/Abstract: In this paper I concern myself with The Superman Puzzle (the phenomenon of the substitution failure of co-referential proper names in simple sentences). I argue that the descriptive content associated with proper names, besides determining the proper name’s reference, function as truth-conditionally relevant adjuncts which can be used to express a manner, reason, goal, time or purpose of action. In that way a sentence with a proper name “NN is doing something” could be understood as “NN is doing something as NN” (which means “as-soand-so”). I argue that the substitution of names can fail on modified readings because the different descriptive content of proper names modifies the main predicate differently. Here I present a formal representation of modified predicates which allows one to model intuitively the different truth-conditions of sentences from The Puzzle.

  • Issue Year: XXX/2016
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 11-44
  • Page Count: 34
  • Language: English