Definitions of 'proper noun' describe it as a noun designating a particular being or thing.

But that is not enough, because in "I am riding my bike.", 'my bike' is a particular bike.

So the definitions add that a proper noun does not take a limiting modifier (such as 'my', 'this', 'a', 'an', ...).

Does anyone know of a satisfactory definition of 'proper noun' that does not resort to the limiting- modifier exclusion?
1 2 3 4 5
Comments  (Page 4) 
I have a true tendency to add some of my afterthoughts as a post scriptum. I'm really not sure whether I am able to propose my argument, whether it could be persuasive or not....

So for the meantime I'd like to quote my favorite phrase (or an oracle..?) of Wittgenstein:
Der Philosoph ist der, der in sich viele Krankheiten des Verstandes heilen muss, ehe er zu den Notionen des gesunden Menschenverstandes kommen kann.

....pedantry is infectious...... (I hope this will not be my last post....)
Hello Roro

Yes indeed; though was Wittgenstein's view coloured a little by the fact that he lived and worked among philosophers, I wonder?

Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Hello, MrPedantic.

Do you have in mind his refutation to the mental image theory of meaning? or his oracle? or both?

Actually I have an impression .... he didn't consider himself as an academic philosopher. So we can take his word as his general statement about language (or this *** type of man, philosopher), I feel like thinking so.
Hello Roro

I was thinking of the quote you've blue-boxed; I get the impression that W. thought the fly was in the bottle only because his academic colleagues had put it there, and that it was his job to let it out again; and that in fact no sensible person would have put the fly in the bottle in the first place...

Emotion: smileYou took this statement from more wider point of view than mine, maybe....
My first impression was: it's about me ....!
I don't know my enthusiasm is genuine or not, but I feel it as Emotion: smile

So ... the fly is the metaphor of ... what ? the proper undestanding of which W. himself was so eager after ...? ( I'm guessing... )
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Hello Roro

Wittgenstein's 'fly in the bottle' idea: I can't quite remember where he talks about this, but will hunt it down and re-post later...

Hello MrPedantic,

It's not so necesarry, don't worry about it, please...!
Incidentally ... my quote is from W's .
Actually I know nothing about this W's work .... but I couldn't forget only this phrase, because I felt sympathy to him when I met this phrase.
Well, it's in Philosophical Investigations somewhere, and is something like: 'What is your aim, in philosophy? To show the fly the way out of the bottle'.

I suppose W's idea that (rough paraphrase) 'the meaning of a word is the way it is used' is one of his methods, in this respect.

Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Talking about a fly ...
(Let me quote from Tristram Shandy my favorite phrase... vol.2, ch.12)

my uncle Toby had scarce a heart to retalliate upon a fly.
  -- Go -- says he, one day at dinner, to an over-grown one which had buzzed about his nose, and tormented him cruelly all dinner-time, -- and which, after infinite attempts, he had caught at last, as it flew by him ; -- I'll not hurt thee, says my uncle Toby, rising from his chair, and going across the room, with the fly in his hand, -- I'll not hurt a hair of thy head : -- Go, says he, lifting up the sash, and opening his hand as he spoke, to let it escape ; -- go poor Devil, get thee gone, why should I hurt thee ? -- This world surely is wide enough to hold both thee and me.

Show more