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By Ihechukwu Madubuike, Maureen Warner Lewis

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Extra resources for Achebe's Ideas on Literature, An Analysis of Chinua Achebe's Arrow of God.

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The information a hearer gathers from such an utterance depends on the descriptive information the hearer associates with the name. The information a speaker wishes to convey by an utterance depends on what descriptive information he thinks that he and his audience jointly associate with the name. All of this seems clear and at least roughly correct—to which I would add the following: anyone who is familiar with a name, and who is competent to use it, can be expected to associate some descriptive content with it.

THE TRACTARIAN CONCEPTION OF LANGUAGE 15 true and meaningful when the variables are taken to so refer, then the fact that Socrates no longer exists is no argument (a) that the name Socrates doesn’t refer to him, (b) that the referent of Socrates is not the meaning of Socrates, or (c) that if the meaning of Socrates is its referent, then sentences containing it cannot be meaningful. In light of this, the best thing to say about Wittgenstein’s example in section 40 seems to be that the name Mr. N.

However, is it so clear that Socrates fails to refer to anything at all? If it did fail to refer, then it would be hard to see how the sentence Socrates is dead could be true—since the subject expression wouldn’t refer to anything that had the property expressed by the predicate. So perhaps names can continue to refer to things that once existed but no longer do. If the things they refer to are their meanings, then names may remain meaningful, even when the things that are their meanings cease to exist.

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Achebe's Ideas on Literature, An Analysis of Chinua Achebe's Arrow of God. by Ihechukwu Madubuike, Maureen Warner Lewis


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