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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

The Slovak-Austrian Philosophy of Language Network (https://danzeman.weebly.com/slovak-austrian-cooperation.html) announces an online talk by Mirco Sambrotta (Slovak Academy of Sciences), entitled "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof". The talk is on Friday, June 28, 13.15 CEST, and is hosted by the University of Vienna. Please write to danczeman@gmail.com or matteopascucci@yahoo.com if you want to participate. Here is the abstract of the talk: What are we doing when we use empty names, and when we recognize others using them? Do we use all of them in the same way? Is even one and the same empty name used always in the same way? With the help of a story about my little nephew and a non-existent cat called ‘Fufi’, I will attempt to address such thorny (and long-standing) issues by providing a naturalist account of empty names, that is, an account that does not necessarily commit us to the existence of entities that hardly fit into the world as described by science. According to this view, empty names are not names at all (at least not proper names) but, within intensional contexts, they may behave as though they were proper names. A de dicto report enables the ascriber to make explicit the ascribee's intentional act of using an empty name as if it were a proper name - even though, from the point of view of the ascriber, it is recognized as being just an unsuccessful or pretended act of reference. However, since the ascriber is aware that the expression cannot be used referentially, she cannot say what the intentional object is for the ascribee (although she can say that, for the ascribee, it is an object, the relevant expression is used as a proper name, it refers to an object and so on). Accordingly, the ascriber cannot report what the content of the ascribee’s intentional state is (although she can say that the relevant sentence expresses a singular proposition for the ascribee.) This, I think, can be a way of conceiving the opacity of such intentional contexts and ascriptions.


Vienna, Austria


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