2004-09-20

More De Delimmas

My colleague’s de name dilemma seems to be a variance of de dicto and de re readings, that is, a difference between what is said (de dicto), and what is (de re). For example, someone who does not know that the morning star and the evening star are actually the same star might believe de dicto that the morning star is larger than the evening star if they were so told. However, it would be ludicrous for that same person to believe de re that the morning star is larger than the morning star if she were in this manner so informed. It seems to me the SML staff might be entertaining only de re interpretations of ID cards during book requests and interlibrary loans—at the expense of the more multiculturally sensitive de dicto readings. What is said [FIRSTNAME LASTNAME] de dicto, is truth conditionally equal to what is but what is not said, [FIRSTNAME X Y de LASTNAME]—perhaps differing only in sense. I wonder then, if we can judge the SML staff for their partial de re interpretation if they do not in fact know that the morning star is the evening star? There is only one answer to the dilemma, and fortunately it is quite simple: mandatory de dicto/de re differentiation classes should be required of all SML employees.

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