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Volume 48 • Number 3

July 2011




by Delia Graff Fara

According to philosophical lore, Quine wanted to eliminate the proper name 'Socrates' from his regimented language by replacing it with a predicate taking the form either of a verbized name, 'Socratizes', or of a definite description embedding a nominalization of one, 'the Socratizer'. In this case, lore is false. If you look back at Quine's main discussions of how to eliminate singular terms, you will see that neither the word 'Socratize' nor any of its "ize" cognates actually ever shows up. In one of the relatively early works, "On What There Is" (1948), we do see Quine using the verbized-name predicate 'Pegasize' in connection with his discussion of negative existential claims. My point here, though, will be that by the time Quine gets to his discussion in Word and Object (1960) of the uncontroversially existent Socrates, he has dramatically shifted his analysis of names in a way that merits more emphasis than it has received.

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ISSN: 2152-1123