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Abstract

This paper considers Kripke's (1972, 1980) modal arguments against descriptivism about proper names, the descriptivist reply that the meaning of a name is given by a description involving the modifier ‘actually’, and Kit Fine's (1994) distinction between necessary and essential attributes. It explains how Kripke's modal arguments can be recast in essentialist terms by appealing to Fine's distinction, and it argues that the resulting essentialist arguments are immune to the abovementioned descriptivist reply to the original modal arguments.