Philosophy Word of the Day – de dicto / de re

Distinction between ways of understanding the logical necessity or truth of statements, either in terms “of what is said” (de dicto) or in terms “of the thing” (de re).

Someone who does not know that the morning star is the planet Venus, for example, could believe the truth, de dicto, of the proposition, “The morning star is larger than Venus,” even though no one would believe de re that Venus is larger than itself.

Recommended Reading: Alvin Plantinga, The Nature of Necessity (Clarendon, 1989) {at} and Saul A. Kripke, Naming and Necessity (Harvard, 1980) {at}.

(Via Philosophical Dictionary)

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