Being Called

 

Any semantic account of proper names must make sense of their seemingly predicative uses. While competing accounts differ radically in their analyses of such uses, they all share one common feature: they interpret a predicative use of a name N as expressing (semantically, or pragmatically) the property of being called N. However, adequately characterizing what being called amounts to turns out to be more difficult than has typically been appreciated. An empirically adequate characterization will saddle all main accounts of proper names with a rampant, and very peculiar kind of ambiguity, making names a rather unusual type of lexical items.