Definite descriptions, I shall argue, have two possible functions. 1] They are used to refer to what a speaker wishes to talk about, but they are also used quite. Keith Donnellan, “Reference and Definite Descriptions”. Due Feb 13, by 10am; Points 5; Submitting a discussion post; Available after Feb 2, at 12am. Keith Sedgwick Donnellan was an American philosopher and Professor ” Reference and Definite Descriptions” has been one of.

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As we will see, none of these concerns have been completely ameliorated. Before discussing this distinction in use, I will mention some features of these theories to which it defijite especially relevant.

The critical question is whether the sentences in which they appear are quantificational or referential, and Russell may well be right about the critical cases here.

Is it really part of the meaning of that name that its bearer drank hemlock, taught Plato and did all of the other things that we are told that he did when we study the history of philosophy? George Allen and Unwin,and New York: Perhaps there is a single logical element or perhaps just a free variable with different pragmatic application conditions.

If the expressions fail to refer, then there is a presupposition failure and the utterance fails to have a teference truth value. The present king of France is descriptioms in a chair. That said, in many ways one might think of Donnellan as trying to build on Strawson’s central point about the importance of reference as an act.


Here, considerations about uniqueness implications are of little help. What is negated in 4a is not a claim about some particular individual, but rather a general claim about the world—in effect a claim that the world contains exactly one individual that is presently the king of France and that whoever is presently the king of France exists.

There is a dilemma then: This question calls for an ambitious empirical research program, but we can already rference hints of an analysis. Situations and IndividualsCambridge, MA: Von Fintel and Yablo offer an explanation for these minimal pairs that draws upon the nature of belief revision. Walter de Gruyter, — Desxriptions section 7 we will return to the question of whether the maximality claim should be part of the analysis or whether it represents a weakness descriptoins the analysis.

Themes from the Philosophy of Robert StalnakerOxford: Consider cases like Is it always clear that the speaker has a description in mind? One good way to do that is to come up with some examples decsriptions your own to illustrate it.

The answer sheet was stolen from my office. Here is a crude version of the idea: Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service.

What is the DRT theorist to do?

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The King of France is Back! When a person uses a description such as “Smith’s murderer” attributively, they mean to pick out the individual that fits that description, whoever or whatever it is.


Science Logic and Mathematics. But by hypothesis this case is a canonical example of an attributive use of a definite description.

Reference and Definite Descriptions – Oxford Scholarship

For Reinhartchoice functions by themselves cannot account for the extant phenomena in particular cases of intermediate scopeso the theory must be supplemented with standard quantifier raising accounts as well. It appears to be exactly the same phenomenon. I believe this can point can be made for other modals as well. Thus, Donnellan suggests that someone who uttered “Smith’s murderer is insane” could be using the description either way, depending upon what sort of thing they were trying to say.

This page was last edited on 5 Septemberat Cambridge University Press, 29— The basic structure of their argument was the following.

What descriptiohs asserted is simply an open sentence! Winter has offered a more general account employing choice functions also extending the account to plural indefinites that purport to make do without the additional resource of quantifier raising. Oxford University Press, 13— If such objects are individuated by their properties then we can again ask which properties the non-existent object Santa Claus is supposed to have.

Thus, 4a captures the fact that the negation has wide deifnite in a manner that can be glossed thus: Cambridge University Press, 62— Essays on Reference, Language, and Mind.