Peirce's pragmatic theory of proper names

Ahti Veikko Pietarinen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Peirce's pragmatic theory of proper names has commonly been taken to represent a relatively distant historical precedent to the ideas that have floated around the causal-historical theory of names. Yet his theory differs from the causal theory in crucial respects. I will point out its distinctive contextual, cognitive, and epistemic factors, not found in recent formulations of the causal theory, which are largely based on Peirce's unique conception of the workings of quantification in his logic. His pragmatic approach thus presents an alternative and at the same time broader account of the non-descriptive denotation of proper names than that provided by the causal-historical theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-363
Number of pages23
JournalTransactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Philosophy

User-Defined Keywords

  • Causal-historical theory
  • Pragmatics
  • Proper names
  • Quantification


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