Proper names and persons: Peirce's semiotic consideration of proper names

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8 Scopus citations


Charles S. Peirce's theory of proper names bears helpful insights for how we might think about his understanding of persons. Persons, on his view, are continuities, not static objects. I argue that Peirce's notion of the legisign, particularly proper names, sheds light on the habitual and conventional elements of what it means to be a person. In this paper, I begin with an account of what philosophers of language have said about proper names in order to distinguish Peirce's theory of proper names from them. Then, I present Peirce's semiotic theory of proper names, followed by some ways in which his theory can be applied to practical concerns, such as first impressions, name changing, identity, and temporary insanity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-362
Number of pages17
JournalTransactions of the Charles S Peirce Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008


  • C. S. Peirce
  • Legisign
  • Name changing
  • Personhood
  • Persons
  • Proper names
  • Semiotics
  • Ship of theseus
  • Temporary insanity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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