Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 23 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

For an expression to be rigid means (abstracting from some variations) that it refers to one and the same thing with respect to any possible situation. But how is this in turn to be understood? An example will help us work through the definition. Take a word like ‘Aristotle.’ That word is a proper name; and proper names are a clear case of a type of word that refers. ‘Aristotle’ refers to a particular person, the last great philosopher of antiquity; in general, a name refers to the thing of which it is the name. To continue working through the definition of rigidity, we need to make sense of referring with respect to. It is tempting, for example, but mistaken, to understand a word's referring with respect to a possible situation as it's being used, in that situation, to refer to something.

Keywords: words, proper names, rigidity, Aristotle, abstracting, possible situation

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.