februarie 15, 2011

identity of denotation

"If, then, we are asserting identity of denotation, we must not mean by denotation the mere relation of a name to the thing named. In fact, it would be nearer to the truth to say that the meaning of “Scott” is the denotation of “the author of Waverley.” The relation of “Scott” to Scott is that “Scott” means Scott, just as the relation of “author” to the concept which is so called is that “author” means this concept. Thus if we distinguish meaning and denotation in “the author of Waverley,” we shall have to say that “Scott” has meaning but not denotation. Also when we say “Scott is the author of Waverley,” the meaning of “the author of Waverley” is relevant to our assertion. For if the denotation alone were relevant, any other phrase with the same denotation would give the same proposition. Thus “Scott is the author of Marmion” would be the same proposition as “Scott is the author of Waverley.” But this is plainly not the case, since from the first we learn that Scott wrote Marmion and from the second we learn that he wrote Waverley, but the first tells us nothing about Waverley and the second nothing about Marmion. Hence the meaning of “the author of Waverley,” as opposed to the denotation, is certainly relevant to “Scott is the author of Waverley.” "

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