Is Superman a Sense or a Superhero?

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Virginia Tech


This paper discusses the puzzle introduced by Jennifer Saul, which involves swapping coreferential proper names in simple sentences such as (1) Benito dresses as Clark Kent, and (1*) Benito dresses as Superman. While the traditional Frege's puzzle suggests that such substitutions do not change the truth value of a sentence, Saul's puzzle suggests otherwise. My paper explains Saul's proposed solution based on conversational implicatures and argues against it. Then I introduce a different solution called the Shifty-Fregean solution, which states that proper names in some contexts refer to their senses rather than the reference. The paper argues that this solution is better than Saul's and outlines a new approach to Saul's puzzle. The paper is divided into three sections. First, I will provide an overview of Saul's puzzle and Frege's puzzle. Second, I will discuss Saul's solution and its rejection. Finally, I will develop the Shifty-Fregean solution.



Frege's puzzle, coreferring names, senses, conversational implicatures