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There is an unresolved conflict in points of view that continues to fester in contemporary semantics and philosophy of mind. According to one influential outlook, an adequate theory of semantic properties and relations would provide us with a better understanding of those psychological acts and states called the propositional attitudes. A theory of such semantic concepts as that of a sentence's meaning something, or that of a term's referring to something would, according to this point of view, be capable of yielding explications of such analogous psychological concepts as that of a thought's having a certain propositional content, or of a beliefs being about something. This program is sometimes called the ‘Analogy Theory’ of thought; since Wilfrid Sellars is the most forceful and creative proponent of this point of view, I will call it ‘Sellars's Program.’
In “Naming and Necessity” Saul Kripke describes some cases which, he claims, provide counterexamples both to cluster theories and, more generally, to description theories of proper names. My view of these cases is that while they do not provide counterexamples to cluster theories, they can be used to provide evidence against single-description theories. (I count as single-description theories both “short-for-descriptions” theories of the Frege-Russell sort and what I shall call below “fixed-by-attributes” theories.) In this paper I shall defend both of the claims involved in my view.