We were rejoined by Matt Teichman to continue our Kripke thread, discussing primarily Putnam’s essay “The Meaning of Meaning” (1971) about water here vs. water on “Twin Earth” where that stuff that runs in rivers and streams has a different chemical composition. Putnam puts forth a positive theory of meaning that involves holding a stereotype of a term (e.g., that water is wet) but also where your meaning is determined by extension, i.e., what your term in the real world actually refers to, so that we and the Twin Earthers mean something different even though we seem to have the same psychological state when talking about water.
On Naming and Necessity (1980). What’s the relationship between language and the world? Specifically, what makes a name or a class term pick out the person or things that it does? Saul Kripke wanted to correct the dominant view of his time (which involved a description in the speaker’s mind), and used talk of “possible worlds” to do it! With guest Matt Teichman.
End song: “Reason Enough” by Mark Lint.
I’ve released a new recording: me reading Bertrand Russell’s essay, “On Denoting”. It’s available free to members, or (since it’s public domain), anyone can purchase it here. A key point of transition between our Frege episode and our very-soon-to-be-released Quine episode is Russell’s theory of definite descriptions. In “On Denoting” from 1905, which you can read here, Russell argues that Continue Reading …