Searle begins by meditating on the fact that sentences of the form ``Tully = Tully'' are not informative, while sentences of the form ``Tully = Cicero'' are.

Frege's earlier view concerning this was that the second sentence was making an assertion about language which is clearly different from the first sentence.  On this view, the first sentence in effect says ``The English word ``Tully'' and the English word ``Tully'' name the same thing,'' while the second says  ``The English word ``Tully'' and the English word ``Cicero'' name the same thing.''  While this is initially appealing, reflection shows that it cannot be right.  Consider the sentence

(a)  Franz believes that Tully = Cicero.

With the early Fregean analysis this is the same as saying

(b)  Franz believes that the English word ``Tully'' and the English word ``Cicero'' name the same thing.

However it is clearly possible for (a) to be true and (b) to be false.  Consider the case where Franz is a German speaker and he has no beliefs at all about English whatsoever.

If this is uncompelling, let us use another example which is more detailed.  Suppose half of the Germans are taught basic chemistry and half of them are never exposed to it, and that Franz is in the first half.  Then we (English speakers) would certainly be correct in saying

(a')  Franz knows that water = H2O.

Again, where Franz knows no English we would be incorrect in saying

(b')  Franz knows that the English word ``water'' and the English word ``H2O'' name the same thing.

Other, more problematic cases might involve attribution of propositional attitudes towards animals.  What if someone were to say

(a'') Fido knows that the man in the green mask is identical to Bill Thompson.

Again we would not say

(b'')  Fido knows that the English words ``the man in the green mask'' and the English words ``Bill Thompson'' name the same thing.

I find this very compelling, though most contemporary philosophers are not happy attributing propositional attitudes to non-humans.



One might respond by saying, ``Fine, these are just more considerations motivating the use of sense.''  However, Searle notes that there are real problems with the idea of a proper name having a sense, if our account of the sense of a proper name is as something given by a definite description.  His argument is something like this.

  1. Suppose that the sense of the name Aristotle was given with the description ``the most famous philosopher born in Stagira.''
  2. But then, since ``Aristotle'' has the same sense as the description ''the most famous philosopher born in Stagira,'' the sentence ``Aristotle was born in Stagira'' means the same as ``The most famous philosopher born in Stagira was born in Stagira.''
  3. But ``The most famous philosopher born in Stagira was born in Stagira'' is a necessary truth (as long as there was somebody who was the most famous philosopher born in Stagira).
  4. If two sentences have the same meaning, then if one of them is a necessary truth, the other one is.
  5. So then the sentence, ``Aristotle was born in Stagira,'' turns out to be necessarily true (as long as there was somebody who was the most famous philosopher born in Stagira).
  6. But we could discover that Aristotle was not born in Stagira, so the sentence ``Aristotle was born in Stagira'' is not a necessary truth after all.
  7. Since this argument schema can be applied to any description that is supposed to give the sense of a proper name, we must conclude that descriptions do not give the sense of proper names.

So we might be moved to say that proper names do not have senses.



On the other hand, the denial of sense seems to get us in hot water too.

  1. Suppose most of the knowledge we have about Aristotle proved to be false, or not about one person.
  2. We would then conclude that Aristotle didn't really exist.
  3. If there is a sense to ``Aristotle,'' then saying that Aristotle didn't exist would be a way to say that the sense of ``Aristotle'' has no referent.  This jives with the actual reasons we would say that Aristotle didn't exist.
  4. If there is no sense to ``Aristotle,'' then at best we could be saying that the word ``Aristotle'' didn't refer to anything.  But this doesn't jive with the actual reasons we would say that Aristotle didn't exist.  If my dog was named ``Aristotle'' then the word ``Aristotle'' would still refer to something.
  5. Thus, denying that words like ``Aristotle'' have a sense is bad.

Thus we seem to have a genuine antinomy, or rather we would, if the only account of sense of a proper name we could give were a description theoretic one.



Searle wants to argue that identity statements of the ``Tully = Tully'' form are analytic (in some manner, true in virtue of meaning or linguistic rules), and that identity statements of the ``Tully = Cicero'' can be either analytic or synthetic (true in virtue of meaning or linguistic rules and way the world is).

In brief Searle's view is going to be that with each name in a language there is a set of sentences involving that name (call this set a name's cluster set), and that when people use the name ``Aristotle'' they presuppose that a subset of the cluster set are true.

Then ``Tully = Cicero'' is analytic for the person asserting it if that person already associates the same subset of each sentences Searle set with each name, and it is synthetic if not.  Note that, for Searle here it is really utterances of statements that are analytic or synthetic, not the statemtents themselves.
 
problem-presupposition?  Why not just say that the cluster set is the name's sense?
Do competent users of the name have to themeselves associate a subset of the cluster with the name?
Need the cluster set be consistent?

Why does Russell say that ``this'' and ``that'' are the only real proper names?  This comes from his very high standards of propriety.  For Russell, a proper name must. . .

Here was our gloss on Searle's argument again.

  1. Suppose that the sense of the name ``Aristotle'' was given with the description ``the most famous philosopher born in Stagira.''
  2. But then, since ``Aristotle'' has the same sense as the description ''the most famous philosopher born in Stagira,'' the sentence ``Aristotle was born in Stagira'' means the same as ``The most famous philosopher born in Stagira was born in Stagira.''
  3. But ``The most famous philosopher born in Stagira was born in Stagira'' is a necessary truth (as long as there was somebody who was the most famous philosopher born in Stagira).
  4. If two sentences have the same meaning, then if one of them is a necessary truth, the other one is.
  5. So then the sentence, ``Aristotle was born in Stagira,'' turns out to be necessarily true (as long as there was somebody who was the most famous philosopher born in Stagira).
  6. But we could discover that Aristotle was not born in Stagira, so the sentence ``Aristotle was born in Stagira'' is not a necessary truth after all.
  7. Since this argument schema can be applied to any description that is supposed to give the sense of a proper name, we must conclude that descriptions do not give the sense of proper names.

Troy and Noelle suggested the argument would be blocked if you took the description to be ``the person people think was the most famous philosopher born in Stagira.''  This is initially a extremely promising move, as it blocks the above argument, and seems to do so for the right reasons.  To see how it blocks Searle's argument, consider the following.

  1. Suppose that the sense of the name ``Aristotle'' was given with the description ``the person people think was the most famous philosopher born in Stagira.''
  2. But then, since ``Aristotle'' has the same sense as the description ''the person people think was the most famous philosopher born in Stagira,'' the sentence ``Aristotle was born in Stagira'' means the same as ``The person people think was the most famous philosopher born in Stagira was born in Stagira.''
  3. But ``The person people think was the most famous philosopher born in Stagira was born in Stagira'' is a necessary truth (as long as there was somebody who was the most famous philosopher born in Stagira).
  4. If two sentences have the same meaning, then if one of them is a necessary truth, the other one is.
  5. So then the sentence, ``Aristotle was born in Stagira,'' turns out to be necessarily true (as long as there was somebody who was the most famous philosopher born in Stagira).
  6. But we could discover that Aristotle was not born in Stagira, so the sentence ``Aristotle was born in Stagira'' is not a necessary truth after all.
  7. Since this argument schema can be applied to any description that is supposed to give the sense of a proper name, we must conclude that descriptions do not give the sense of proper names.

Clearly, this is invalid, as the third line is patently false.  Moreover, it seems to block the argument for the right reasons.  The problem was that the sense we associate with a name might not be true of the object the name refers to.  So if we put in the descriptive content that expresses the sense the considered proviso this problem does not arise.

However, one might argue that an argument very similar to the one we presented as Searle's can also show the amended theory to be wrong.  Consider.

  1. Suppose that the sense of the name ``Aristotle'' was given with the description ``the person people think was the most famous philosopher born in Stagira.''
  2. But then, since ``Aristotle'' has the same sense as the description ''the person people think was the most famous philosopher born in Stagira,'' the sentence ``Aristotle was born in Stagira'' means the same as ``The person people think was the most famous philosopher born in Stagira was born in Stagira.''
  3. But ``The person people think was the most famous philosopher born in Stagira is thought to be born in Stagira'' is a necessary truth (as long as there was somebody who was the most famous philosopher born in Stagira).
  4. If two sentences have the same meaning, then if one of them is a necessary truth, the other one is.
  5. So then the sentence, ``Aristotle is thought to have been born in Stagira,'' turns out to be necessarily true (as long as there was somebody who was the most famous philosopher born in Stagira).
  6. But it could have been the case that history happened such that we thought Aristotle was born in Macedonia, so the sentence ``Aristotle is thought to have been born in Stagira'' is not a necessary truth after all.
  7. Since this argument schema can be applied to any description that is supposed to give the sense of a proper name, we must conclude that descriptions do not give the sense of proper names.

One might start to realize that both of these arguments can be compressed.  Kripke will go on to just point out that attributions of the definite description are not necessary truths in the first place (I think now this is what Searle was probably saying, and that I was being obtuse).  Thus, Kripke's (and probably Searle's) arguments are much shorter.  Consider.

  1. Suppose that the sense of the name ``Aristotle'' was given with the description `` the most famous philosopher born in Stagira.''
  2. But then, since ``Aristotle'' has the same sense as the description ''the most famous philosopher born in Stagira,'' the sentence ``Aristotle is the most famous philosopher born in Stagira'' is necessarily true.
  3. But ``Aristotle is the most famous philosopher born in Stagira'' is not necessarily true.  In fact, for all we know it could be false.
  4. Since this argument schema can be applied to any description that is supposed to give the sense of a proper name, we must conclude that descriptions do not give the sense of proper names.

Consider the argument we get when we try to ammend it in the way Troy and Noelle suggested.

  1. Suppose that the sense of the name ``Aristotle'' was given with the description ``the person we think was the most famous philosopher born in Stagira.''
  2. But then, since ``Aristotle'' has the same sense as the description '``the person we think was the most famous philosopher born in Stagira''  the sentence ``Aristotle is the person we think was the most famous philosopher born in Stagira'' is necessarily true.
  3. But ``Aristotle is the person we think was the most famous philosopher born in Stagira'' is not necessarily true.  In fact, it could have been false.
  4. Since this argument schema can be applied to any description that is supposed to give the sense of a proper name, we must conclude that descriptions do not give the sense of proper names.

It is actually very important that the arguments can be so reformulated, as in the initial arguement one could have responded by saying that ``The most famous philosopher born in Stagira was born in Stagira'' is not a necessary truth.  The phrase ``The most famous philosopher born in Stagira'' denotes somebody (say Aristotle) and history might have worked out such  that Aristotle ended up being born elsewhere.  So it might have been the case that ``The most famous philosopher born in Stagira was born in Stagira'' was false.  Such sentences (consider also ``I am here now'' and ``the standard meter bar in Paris is one meter long'') are what Kripke is going to call a priori contingencies.  They can be known to be true without having to check any facts in the world, yet they are contingently true.  They could have been false.  Making sense of this will require getting clear ona lot of Kripke's philosophy.