Tsinghua University – University of Amsterdam Joint Research Centre for Logic

Invited Talk – Hans Kamp

Proper Names in Attitude Attributions

This talk is about the semantic contributions of proper names in Attitude reports, such as

  • (1) John believes that Mary is in Paris
  • (2) I long thought that Jonah was a fictional character
  • (3) Some Greeks from the 7th cen- tury B.C. assumed that Hesperus/Phosphorus can only be seen in the morning
  • (4) Johnny believes that Santa lives in Greenland
  • (5) Johnny’s father believes that Johnny thinks that Santa lives in Greenland.

Point of departure is the reconstruction of the causal chain account of proper names out-lined in (Kripke 1980) and (Chastain 1975) within the framework of MSDRT (short for ‘Mental State Discourse Representation Theory’), an extension of DRT that offers explicit descriptions of mental states and, derivatively from that, truth conditions for simple and complex attitude reports (Kamp 2015), (Kamp 2022), (Kamp 2021). In this talk these two applications of MSDRT – its account of the use and meaning contributions of proper names and the truth conditions of attitude reports – are combined in an exploration of what roles names can play when they occur in the clausal complements of attitudinal verbs.


  1. Chastain, C. (1975), Reference and context, in K. Gunderson, ed., ‘Language, Mind and Knowledge (Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, VII)’, University of Minnesota Press.
  2. Kamp, H. (2015), ‘Using proper names as intermediaries between labelled entity representations’, Erkenntnis 80, 263–312.
  3. Kamp, H. (2021), Sharing real and fictional reference, in E. Maier & A. Stokke, eds, ‘The Language of Fiction’, Oxford University Press.
  4. Kamp, H. (2022), ‘The links of causal chains’, Theoria .
  5. Kripke, S. (1980), Naming and Necessity, Harvard University Press, Cam- bridge. First appeared in: D. Davidson and G. Harman(eds), Semantics of Natural Language, Reidel, 1972.