Odniesienie nazw własnych, intuicje semantyczne i filozofia eksperymentalna
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proper names
descriptivist theory of names
causal-historical theory of names
experimental philosophy


DOI: http://doi.org/10.26333/sts.xxx2.03

This paper contributes to the debate concerning philosophical conclusions that can (or cannot) be drawn from systematic, empirical studies on intuitions about the reference of proper names. The article discusses the famous study by Machery et al. (2004) in which they observed intercultural differences in semantic intuitions between Americans and Chinese. The authors of that experiment used the obtained results to question the usefulness of intuitions in philosophical discussions regarding the reference of proper names.

The paper presents the results of my own experimental studies, which are aimed not at revealing semantic intuitions, but rather at analyzing the methods used in previous experiments that focused on these issues. The results of my studies have indicated high instability of verdicts concerning the reference of proper names and the susceptibility of these verdicts to philosophically insignificant factors. Basing on the collected data, I argue that methods used in experimental studies about the reference of proper names carried out so far do not guarantee revealing intuitions of the desired kind.

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