Could there have been unicorns?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Kripke and Dummett disagree over whether or not there could have been unicorns. Kripke thinks that there could not have been; Dummett thinks otherwise. I argue that Kripke is correct: there are no counterfactual situations properly describable as ones in which there would have been unicorns. In attempting to establish this claim, I argue that Dummett's critique of an argument (reminiscent of an argument of Kripke's) to the conclusion that there could not have been unicorns, is vitiated by a conflation of two superficially similar, though importantly different, claims. I then attempt to provide an account of the counter-intuitiveness of Kripke's position, arguing that the claim that there could not have been unicorns is best understood as a semantic, rather than metaphysical, claim. Finally, I provide a brief argument on behalf of the semantics of species terms that appears to underpin Kripke's position.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-51
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Philosophical Studies
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1997

Fingerprint

Unicorn
Michael Dummett
Conflation
Metaphysical

Keywords

  • Fictional discourse
  • Rigid designators
  • Species terms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy

Cite this

Could there have been unicorns? / Reimer, Margaret -.

In: International Journal of Philosophical Studies, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1997, p. 35-51.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{a79c97b6f3154dbd97c20e2e563f0707,
title = "Could there have been unicorns?",
abstract = "Kripke and Dummett disagree over whether or not there could have been unicorns. Kripke thinks that there could not have been; Dummett thinks otherwise. I argue that Kripke is correct: there are no counterfactual situations properly describable as ones in which there would have been unicorns. In attempting to establish this claim, I argue that Dummett's critique of an argument (reminiscent of an argument of Kripke's) to the conclusion that there could not have been unicorns, is vitiated by a conflation of two superficially similar, though importantly different, claims. I then attempt to provide an account of the counter-intuitiveness of Kripke's position, arguing that the claim that there could not have been unicorns is best understood as a semantic, rather than metaphysical, claim. Finally, I provide a brief argument on behalf of the semantics of species terms that appears to underpin Kripke's position.",
keywords = "Fictional discourse, Rigid designators, Species terms",
author = "Reimer, {Margaret -}",
year = "1997",
doi = "10.1080/09672559708570844",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "5",
pages = "35--51",
journal = "International Journal of Philosophical Studies",
issn = "0967-2559",
publisher = "Taylor and Francis Ltd.",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Could there have been unicorns?

AU - Reimer, Margaret -

PY - 1997

Y1 - 1997

N2 - Kripke and Dummett disagree over whether or not there could have been unicorns. Kripke thinks that there could not have been; Dummett thinks otherwise. I argue that Kripke is correct: there are no counterfactual situations properly describable as ones in which there would have been unicorns. In attempting to establish this claim, I argue that Dummett's critique of an argument (reminiscent of an argument of Kripke's) to the conclusion that there could not have been unicorns, is vitiated by a conflation of two superficially similar, though importantly different, claims. I then attempt to provide an account of the counter-intuitiveness of Kripke's position, arguing that the claim that there could not have been unicorns is best understood as a semantic, rather than metaphysical, claim. Finally, I provide a brief argument on behalf of the semantics of species terms that appears to underpin Kripke's position.

AB - Kripke and Dummett disagree over whether or not there could have been unicorns. Kripke thinks that there could not have been; Dummett thinks otherwise. I argue that Kripke is correct: there are no counterfactual situations properly describable as ones in which there would have been unicorns. In attempting to establish this claim, I argue that Dummett's critique of an argument (reminiscent of an argument of Kripke's) to the conclusion that there could not have been unicorns, is vitiated by a conflation of two superficially similar, though importantly different, claims. I then attempt to provide an account of the counter-intuitiveness of Kripke's position, arguing that the claim that there could not have been unicorns is best understood as a semantic, rather than metaphysical, claim. Finally, I provide a brief argument on behalf of the semantics of species terms that appears to underpin Kripke's position.

KW - Fictional discourse

KW - Rigid designators

KW - Species terms

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=61249690878&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=61249690878&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/09672559708570844

DO - 10.1080/09672559708570844

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:61249690878

VL - 5

SP - 35

EP - 51

JO - International Journal of Philosophical Studies

JF - International Journal of Philosophical Studies

SN - 0967-2559

IS - 1

ER -