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There is no really adequate definition of singular term. Here are some definitions proposed by different writers:

  1. A term that tells us which individual is being talked about. (John Stuart Mill, Arthur Prior, P. F. Strawson) [1]
  2. A term that is grammatically singular, i.e. a proper name (proprium nomen), a demonstrative pronoun (pronomen demonstrativum) or a demonstrative pronoun with a common name (cum termino communi). (William of Ockham)[2]
  3. A term that is inherently about the object to which it applies or refers. (Gottlob Frege) [3]
  4. A term that is true "in the same sense" of only one object. (Peter of Spain)[4]

References Edit

  1. Strawson 1950, Prior 1976, Mill 1908
  2. Ockham, loc. cit.
  3. Frege 1892
  4. Hispanus 1947

Works cited Edit

  • Frege, G. (1892) "On Sense and Reference", originally published as " Über Sinn und Bedeutung" in Zeitschrift für Philosophie und philosophische Kritik, vol. 100, pp. 25-50. Transl. Geach & Black 56-78.
  • Mill, J.S., A System of Logic, London 1908 (8th edition).
  • Petrus Hispanus, Summulae Logicales, ed. I. M. Bochenski (Turin, 1947) – also quoted in Prior 1976
  • Prior, A.N. The Doctrine of Propositions & Terms London 1976
  • Strawson, P.F. "On Referring", Mind 1950 pp. 320-44.
  • William of Ockham, Summa logicae Paris 1448, Bologna 1498, Venice 1508, Oxford 1675

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