[C] [Wittrs] Re: Re: Re: Proper Names --Wittgenstein, Russell, Kripke

  • From: Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 5 Feb 2010 17:26:27 -0800 (PST)


I think that is a good contribution. In discussing bearer-calls versus 
bearer-assignments, I've strayed away from the indeterminacy part of names that 
Wittgenstein describes in his Moses paragraphs (79). Let me see if this won't 

1. If you ask "who was Richard Nixon," you have one of two games to play: (a) 
who is the bearer called N; or (b) who is the bearer assigned by N. If you mean 
the former, you have one of four modes (behaviors) available: 

1. He's that guy right here. Pointing.

2. He's the 37th President. Marking 

3. He's the one who was involved in Watergate, came after Johnson, and had the 
sloped Nose that people didn't like to trust on television. Generality 

4. He was a President who broke laws, lied in office and was impeached in a 
scandal. He's was Tricky Dick. Note that this is acting as a title. It's trying 
to say something similar to "Messy Marvin" or Dennis the Menace. Or Bloody 
Mary. Honest Abe. Alexander the Great. In a way, it's trying to say The Crooked 
President. And note what happens here. As actual circumstances in the culture 
create the same four things -- 1. scandal 2. impeachment 3. lies 4. president 
-- in the form of a Democrat, now the name-title and the bearer can 
separate: "Clinton is the Richard Nixon for the Democrats." 

Here is what I am trying to say. If your bearer and N are always together, you 
are playing a language game where there are multiple ways to get the job done, 
and where the answer of what "Richard Nixon" means is in flux and is even 
amendable after delivery. As W says, you have many props available at your 
disposal. If one fails to identify the bearer of N, you can amend after the 
fact. The only goal of this game is to reference the bearer-called N.

But the moment you change your game to one of assign the bearer to N, now it is 
N that runs the show. Everything now is N-determined. Instead of you having an 
N in flux that must reference the correct bearer, you now have a STERN -N- that 
plays as something criterial would (as titles or status do). It almost seems 
like the difference between locate the donkey's tail and pin the tail on the 


Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html 

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