The nature of propositions and the cognitive value of names have been the focal point of philosophy of language for the last few decades. The advocates of the causal reference theory have favored the view that the semantic contents of proper names are their referents. However, Frege’s puzzle about the different cognitive value of coreferential names has made this identification seem impossible. Geirsson provides a detailed overview of the debate to date, and then develops a novel account that explains our reluctance, even when we know about the relevant identity, to substitute coreferential names in both simple sentences and belief contexts while nevertheless accepting the view that the semantic content of names is their referents. The account focuses on subjects organizing information in webs; a name can then access and elicit information from a given web. Geirsson proceeds to extend the account of information to non-referring names, but they have long provided a serious challenge to the causal reference theorist.

chapter 1|6 pages

Introduction and Overview

chapter 2|17 pages


chapter 3|25 pages

Propositions: Structure and Objects

chapter 4|33 pages

Reporting Attitudes

chapter 5|22 pages

Singular Propositions and Acquaintance

chapter 6|37 pages

Beliefs and Belief Reports

chapter 7|21 pages

Empty Names