IMR Press / FBS / Volume 13 / Issue 1 / DOI: 10.52586/S554
Open Access Review
Empty names, hallucinations, and semantics
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1 Department of Linguistics & Cognitive Science, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA
*Correspondence: (Fred Adams)
Front. Biosci. (Schol Ed) 2021, 13(1), 82–96;
Submitted: 1 May 2018 | Accepted: 17 February 2021 | Published: 30 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synesthesia, hallucination and mental disorders)
Copyright: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by BRI.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license (

In this paper we introduce the problem space of the intersection of hallucinatory experiences and hallucinatory thoughts involving empty names. We recount a brief history of the theory of names. We select and defend a direct reference theory of names. We then apply that theory to cases of hallucination. We show how our theory can explain intentional behavior involving empty names and hallucinatory experiences. We then consider several theories that offer alternative accounts to ours. We critically evaluate those alternatives in relation to our view and defend our view.

Empty names
Thought content
Hallucinatory experience
Experiential content
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