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Soames and Widescopism

David Hunter
Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition
Vol. 123, No. 3 (Apr., 2005), pp. 231-241
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4321583
Page Count: 11
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Soames and Widescopism
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Abstract

Widescopism, as I call it, holds that names are synonymous with descriptions that are required to take wide scope over modal adverbs. Scott Soames has recently argued that Widescopism is false. He identifies an argument that is valid but which, he claims, a defender of Widescopism must say has true premises and a false conclusion. I argue, first, that a defender of Widescopism need not in fact say that the target argument's conclusion is false. Soames' argument that she must confuses, I claim, modal adverbs and modal predicates. I then argue that even if she did reject the conclusion, she could nonetheless hold that the target argument's first premise is ambiguous as between a true reading, on which the argument is invalid, and a false reading, on which the argument is valid. I conclude that Soames' argument against Widescopism fails.

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