3

I would have typed a clearer question in the title, but it would have been way too long.

By "static," I mean a word or phrase that refers to one object, and one object only. ex.

  • The Eiffel Tower
  • The United States of America
  • Bill Gates

By "dynamic," I mean something for which the closest analogy I can think of is a UNIX symlink. ex.

  • The current president of the US (sort of like a symlink to Donald Trump, where Donald Trump is a "static" noun)
  • The pen on the table (again, like a symlink. Unlike the above, there is no canonical name to refer to this object).
  • My phone
  • Tonight (refers to a period of time, which in this case might be 20180708 190000 - 230000 EST)

Does this difference exist as a linguistic notion? Again, the best analogy I can come up with is comparing a UNIX file (of any type other than symlink) and a UNIX symlink.

  • 1
    For starters, this kind of thing is covered by semantics. Your distinction is basically the difference between intension and extension. – Jeremy Needle Jul 9 '18 at 2:38
  • @JeremyNeedle Is the material covered by en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extensional_and_intensional_definitions what you mean? If so, I do not see how intension and extension have to do with my question. – extremeaxe5 Jul 10 '18 at 2:34
  • It's true that they're not precisely congruent, but I think they adequately cover your terms (and a lot more). I'm afraid I'm not a semanticist, so I'm not going to be able to get more elaborate here. I recommend you poke around some more. Look here under Kripke: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_reference_theory – Jeremy Needle Jul 10 '18 at 13:47
5

In the philosophy of language and modal logic, the conceptions you label "static" and "dynamic" are called rigid designator and flaccid designator respecively.

| improve this answer | |
  • Awesome. Exactly what I was looking for. – extremeaxe5 Jul 12 '18 at 1:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.