Rigid Designation (necessary a posteriori)

Rigid designators (Stanford Philosophy). PDF.

  • “recognition of alethically rigid designation carries with it a commitment to some sort of transworld identity”
  • “Familiar, broadly applicable reservations about the reduction of modal talk to counterparts talk arise in their own turn: namely reservations according to which ordinary speakers’ accurate talk of a future and a past for you uses ‘you’ and your name rigidly,[3] since ordinary speakers presuppose or assert that something in the past and something in the future is identical to you.”
  • “Kripke presents rigidity first as an alethic notion”
  • “as Fitting and Mendelsohn (1998, p. 219) observe, “it is hard to see whether there are any rigid designators under the epistemic reading.””
  • “Kripke addresses the objection that we cannot meaningfully talk about you, with respect to another possible world, without first having some qualitative criterion of identity, some qualitatively distinguishing mark that allows us to pick you out from other objects in the world at issue, in order to assign your name to the right person, i.e., to you, as the individual that satisfies the qualitative criterion. This criterion would appeal to your essence (or be “an essence”[4]; bear in mind, for this example, the minimal requirements of weak necessity from 1.2), in the minimal respect that the criterion must be something that you and you alone have with respect to any given possible world. As an objection, the worry is that we know of no such qualitative criterion so we can not meaningfully discuss you, with respect to any merely possible world.”

Transworld Identity (Stanford). PDF of same.

1. Kripke’s Naming and Necessity

  • “Let’s call something a rigid designator if in every possible world it designates the same object.”
  • “There is an intuitive difference between the phrase ‘one meter’ and the phrase ‘the length of S at to’. The first phrase is meant to designate rigidly a certain length in all possible worlds, which in the actual world happens to be the length of the stick S at to. On the other hand ‘the length of S at to’ does not designate anything rigidly. In some counterfactual situations the stick might have been longer and in some shorter, if various stresses and strains had been applied to it.” p. 55