In modal logic and the philosophy of language, a vivid designator is a term which is believed to designate the same thing in all possible worlds and nothing else where such an object does not exist in a possible world. It is the analogue, in the sense of believing, of a rigid designator, which is (refers to) the same in all possible worlds, rather than is just believed to be so.
Willard van Orman Quine
Willard Van Orman Quine refers to D. Kaplan, who in turn credits Montgomery Furth for the term vivid designator in his paper Reference and Modality. He examines the separation between de re and de dicto statements and does away with de re statements, because de re statements can only work for words that are names and are used referentially. Both rigid designators and vivid designators are similarly dependent on context and empty otherwise. The same is true of the whole quantified modal logic of necessity; for it collapses if essence is withdrawn.
- Quine, W.V.O., Quintessence: Reference and Modality, 2004, pp. 356–357
- D. Kaplan, Quantifying In, 1969
- Andrea Bonomi, On Quine: Transparency and Specificity in Intentional Contexts, 1995, p. 183