Abstract

The semantics of proper names has always interested analytic philosophers. This is  no accident -- as it is intimately linked to the nature, and possibility, of thought about things in the the world. But the debate has been in a bit of a rut for a while: The anti-descriptivism that swept the field in the wake of Kripke's Naming and Necessity has been more or less deadlocked with various forms of descriptivism. That might be about to change, however, as a number of new accounts are emerging -- or being revived -- that promise to break the deadlock. In this talk, I shall present one such account -- a switcher semantics for proper names -- and compare it to others. This will involve considering questions concerning the relevance of data: What kind of data hold lessons specific to names?