Saul Kripke’s theory of the meaning of names (from Naming and Necessity) that is alternative to descriptivism:

A name refers to the same object in all possible worlds in which that object exists, and the name never refers to anything else.

How do we determine the referents of names? The referent of a name is the object that initiated a chain of reference transmissions.

  • usually begins with a person proposing a name for an object;
  • people use the name to refer to that object without associating any particular description or cluster of descriptions with the name.

External resources