Saul Kripke provides us with a clear way of how we understand and use names in Naming and Necessity. While this solves the problem of how we attribute and understand proper names an interesting question arises when we look to examine scientific units of measure such as meter, mile kilometer and rates. We can now ask ourselves what is in a measure just as Kripke had asked what is in a name. Is a unit of measure synonymous with all definitions for a unit of measure and how do we understand units of measure when the unit is represented is not one we are familiar with.
". . . using this definition not to give the meaning of what he called the ‘meter’, but to fix the reference. (For such an abstract thing as a unit of length, the notion of reference may be unclear. But let’s suppose it’s clear enough for the present purposes). He uses it to fix a reference.There is a certain length which he wants to mark out. He marks it out by an accidental property, namely that there is a stick of that length."(Kripke, S (1980) Naming And Necessity, Oxford.)
While this provides us with a better understanding of how a meter is fixed to a reference it seems apparently strange that in everyday conversations we are able to so interchangeably use and comprehend large non fixed units of measure. It seems as though the we can interchangeably switch and comprehend large and maybe even previously unknown units of measure in everyday conversation. For example we not be familiar with the unit of length in terms of meter but we may be able to use this effectively in a conversation if we have a reference not to the abstract length of a meter but of a known entity such that a football field is 100 meters long. The question now that we can asked is how do we address the use of measure in everyday language as the use of such seems to go beyond the fixed reference posed by Kripke?
As mentioned, Kripke touches upon this in Naming and Necessity, and Wittgenstein does in Philosophical Investigations. This is also touched upon in the article Wittgenstein on the Standard Metre by W.J. Pollock.