Descriptions

Edited by Eliot Michaelson (King's College London, King's College London)
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  1. Actualized and protected descriptivism: an answer to Celia Teixeira / Descritivismo atualizado e protegido: uma resposta à Célia Teixeira.Rodrigo Cid - 2010 - Revista Aproximação 2:9-ss.
    It was argued by Célia Teixeira (2003) that the actualized descriptivist theory of names have the problem of generating undesired epistemic necessities. In this paper I want to argue for a descriptivis theory that does not suffer from such problem. For this I will explain Teixeira's objections and later present my own conception of an actualized descriptivist theory of names; it is, protected against the problem of undesired necessities.
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  2. Complex Demonstratives, Hidden Arguments, and Presupposition.Ethan Nowak - 2019 - Synthese:1-36.
    Standard semantic theories predict that non-deictic readings for complex demonstratives should be much more widely available than they in fact are. If such readings are the result of a lexical ambiguity, as Kaplan (1977) and others suggest, we should expect them to be available wherever a definite description can be used. The same prediction follows from ‘hidden argument’ theories like the ones described by King (2001) and Elbourne (2005). Wolter (2006), however, has shown that complex demonstratives admit non-deictic interpretations only (...)
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  3. Gönderim Üzerine.Bertrand Russell - 2015 - Felsefe Tartismalari (49):55-72.
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  4. Non-Declarative Sentences and the Theory of Definite Descriptions.John-Michael Kuczynski - 2004 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 8 (1):119-154.
    This paper shows that Russell’s theory of descriptions gives the wrong se-mantics for definite descriptions occurring in questions and imperatives. Depending on how that theory is applied, it either assigns nonsense to per-fectly meaningful questions and assertions or it assigns meanings that di-verge from the actual semantics of such sentences, even after all pragmatic and contextual variables are allowed for. Given that Russell’s theory is wrong for questions and assertions, it must be wrong for assertoric state-ments; for the semantics of (...)
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  5. Interaction and Resistance: The Recognition of Intentions in New Human-Computer Interaction.Vincent C. Müller - 2011 - In Anna Esposito, Antonietta M. Esposito, Raffaele Martone, Vincent C. Müller & Gaetano Scarpetta (eds.), Towards autonomous, adaptive, and context-aware multimodal interfaces: Theoretical and practical issues. Springer. pp. 1-7.
    Just as AI has moved away from classical AI, human-computer interaction (HCI) must move away from what I call ‘good old fashioned HCI’ to ‘new HCI’ – it must become a part of cognitive systems research where HCI is one case of the interaction of intelligent agents (we now know that interaction is essential for intelligent agents anyway). For such interaction, we cannot just ‘analyze the data’, but we must assume intentions in the other, and I suggest these are largely (...)
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  6. Intensional Relative Clauses and the Semantics of Variable Objects.Friederike Moltmann - 2018 - In Manfred Krifka & Schenner Mathias (eds.), Reconstruction Effects in Relative Clauses. Berlin: De Gruyter. pp. 427-453..
    NPs with intensional relative clauses such as 'the book John needs to write' pose a significant challenge for semantic theory. Such NPs act like referential terms, yet they do not stand for a particular actual object. This paper will develop a semantic analysis of such NPs on the basis of the notion of a variable object. The analysis avoids a range of difficulties that a more standard analysis based on the notion of an individual concept would face. Most importantly, unlike (...)
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  7. On a Unitary Semantical Analysis for Definite and Indefinite Descriptions.Peter Ludlow & Gabriel Segal - 2004 - In Marga Reimer & Anne Bezuidenhout (eds.), Descriptions and Beyond. Oxford University Press. pp. 420-437.
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  8. Kripke y las descripciones rígidas.Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra - 1993 - Revista Latinoamericana de Filosofia 19 (1):109-113.
    In this paper I discuss a passage from *Naming and Necessity* where Kripke assumes that the essential properties by means of which a definite description designates are a sufficient condition of its rigidity. I put forward two examples that show the falsity of this assumption. Then I examine the non-rigid character of definite descriptions that designate by means of properties that are sufficient conditions of identity of the objects designated by those descriptions. I conclude that the properties by means of (...)
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  9. Review of "Descriptions and Beyond". [REVIEW]John-Michael Kuczynski - 2006 - Pragmatics and Cognition 14 (1):196-204.
    In order to understand a sentence, one must know the relevant semantic rules. Those rules are not learned in a vacuum; they are given to one through one's senses. As a result, knowledge of semantic rules sometimes comes bundled with semantically irrelevant, but cognitively non-innocuous, knowledge of the circumstances in which those rules were learned. Thus, one must work through non-semantic information in order to know what is literally meant by a given sentence-token. A consequence is that one's knowledge of (...)
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  10. Plural Reference and Reference to a Plurality. Linguistic Facts and Semantic Analyses.Friederike Moltmann - 2016 - In Massimiliano Carrara, Alexandra Arapinis & Friederike Moltmann (eds.), Unity and Plurality. Logic, Philosophy, and Semantics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 93-120.
    This paper defends 'plural reference', the view that definite plurals refer to several individuals at once, and it explores how the view can account for a range of phenomena that have been discussed in the linguistic literature.
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  11. Contextual Dependence and Definite Descriptions.Francois Recanati - 1987 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 87:57-73.
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  12. The Ambiguity of Definite Descriptions.Michael Mckinsey - 1979 - Theoria 45 (2):78-89.
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  13. Descriptions and Unknowability.Jan Heylen - 2010 - Analysis 70 (1):50-52.
    In a recent paper Horsten embarked on a journey along the limits of the domain of the unknowable. Rather than knowability simpliciter, he considered a priori knowability, and by the latter he meant absolute provability, i.e. provability that is not relativized to a formal system. He presented an argument for the conclusion that it is not absolutely provable that there is a natural number of which it is true but absolutely unprovable that it has a certain property. The argument depends (...)
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  14. Descriptions with Adverbs of Quantification.Delia Graff Fara - 2006 - Philosophical Issues 16 (1):65–87.
    In “Descriptions as Predicates” (Fara 2001) I argued that definite and indefinite descriptions should be given a uniform semantic treatment as predicates rather than as quantifier phrases. The aim of the current paper is to clarify and elaborate one of the arguments for the descriptions-aspredicates view, one that concerns the interaction of descriptions with adverbs of quantification.
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Attributive and Referential Uses of Descriptions
  1. Pragmatic Ambiguity and Kripke’s Dialogue Against Donnellan.Carlo Penco - 2019 - Ágora Filosófica 19 (1):103-134.
    DOIhttps://doi.org/10.25247/P1982-999X.2019.v19n1.p103-134• Esta obra está licenciada sob uma licençaCreative Commons Atribuição 4.0 InternacionalISSN 1982-999x|Pragmatic ambiguity and Kripke’s dialogue against DonnellanAmbiguidade Pragmática e o diálogo de Kripke contra DonnellanCarlo Penco (Universidade de Genova, Itália)AbstractIn this paper I discuss Donnellan’s claim of the pragmatic ambiguity of the distinction between referential and attributive uses of definite des-criptions. The literature on the topic is huge and full of alternative analysis. I will restrict myself to a very classical topos: the challenge posed by Kripke to Donnellan’s (...)
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  2. The Real Problem with Uniqueness.Andrei Moldovan - 2017 - SATS 18 (2):125-139.
    Arguments against the Russellian theory of definite descriptions based on cases that involve failures of uniqueness are a recurrent theme in the relevant literature. In this paper, I discuss a number of such arguments, from Strawson (1950), Ramachandran (1993) and Szabo (2005). I argue that the Russellian has resources to account for these data by deploying a variety of mechanisms of quantifier domain restrictions. Finally, I present a case that is more problematic for the Russellian. While the previous cases all (...)
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  3. Donnellan's Misdescriptions and Loose Talk.Carlo Penco - 2017 - In Kepa Korta Maria De Ponte (ed.), Reference and Representation in Language and Thought. Oxford (UK): Oxford University Press. pp. 104-125.
    Keith Donnellan wrote his paper on definite descriptions in 1966 at Cornell University, an environment where nearly everybody was discussing Wittgenstein’s ideas of meaning as use. However, his idea of different uses of definite descriptions became one of the fundamental tenets against descriptivism, which was considered one of the main legacies of the Frege–Russell– Wittgenstein view; and I wonder whether a more Wittgensteinian interpretation of Donnellan’s work is possible.
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  4. Descripciones definidas y su uso referencial: una propuesta contextualizada.Justina Diaz Legaspe - 2011 - Cuadernos de Filosofía 56:135-138.
    Las descripciones definidas pueden ser interpretadas de acuerdo con las dos lecturas propuestas por Donnellan. El presente trabajo presenta una interpretación contextualista de la lectura referencial de estas expresiones.
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  5. The Real Distinction Between Descriptions and Indexicals.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2005 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 24 (3):49-74.
    Some contemporary semantic views defend an asymmetry thesis concerning defi-nite descriptions and indexicals. Semantically, indexicals are devices of singular refer-ence; they contribute objects to the contents of the speech acts made with utterances including them. Definite descriptions, on the other hand, are generalized quantifiers, behaving roughly the way Russell envisaged in “On Denoting”. The asymmetry thesis depends on the existence of a sufficiently clear-cut distinction between semantics and pragmatics, because indexicals and descriptions are often used in ways that apparently contradict (...)
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  6. Referential/Attributive: A Contextualist Proposal.Francois Recanati - 1989 - Philosophical Studies 56 (3):217 - 249.
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Descriptions as Predicates
  1. Desires, Scope, and Tense.Fara Delia Graff - 2003 - Philosophical Perspectives 17 (1):141-163.
    According to James McCawley (1981) and Richard Larson and Gabriel Segal (1995), the following sentence is three-ways ambiguous: -/- Harry wants to be the mayor of Kenai. -/- According to them also, the three-way ambiguity cannot be accommodated on the Russellian view that definite descriptions are quantified noun phrases. In order to capture the three-way ambiguity of the sentence, these authors propose that definite descriptions must be ambiguous: sometimes they are predicate expressions; sometimes they are Russellian quantified noun phrases. After (...)
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  2. Descriptions as Predicates.Graff Fara Delia - 2001 - Philosophical Studies 102 (1):1-42.
    Although Strawson’s main aim in “On Referring” was to argue that definite descriptions can be used referentially – that is, “to mention or refer to some individual person or single object . . . , in the course of doing what we should normally describe as making a statement about that person [or] object” (1950, p. 320) – he denied that definite descriptions are always used referentially. The description in ‘Napoleon was the greatest French soldier’ is not used referentially, says (...)
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  3. Descriptions with Adverbs of Quantification.Delia Graff Fara - 2006 - Philosophical Issues 16 (1):65–87.
    In “Descriptions as Predicates” (Fara 2001) I argued that definite and indefinite descriptions should be given a uniform semantic treatment as predicates rather than as quantifier phrases. The aim of the current paper is to clarify and elaborate one of the arguments for the descriptions-aspredicates view, one that concerns the interaction of descriptions with adverbs of quantification.
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Incompleteness of Descriptions
  1. Wolpert, Chaitin and Wittgenstein 불가능, 불완전 성, 거짓말 쟁이 역설, 신념, 전산 한계, 비 양자 역학적 불확실성 원리 및 -Turing 기계 이론의 궁극적 이론(.Michael Richard Starks - 2020 - In 지구상의 지옥에 오신 것을 환영합니다 : 아기, 기후 변화, 비트 코인, 카르텔, 중국, 민주주의, 다양성, 역학, 평등, 해커, 인권, 이슬람, 자유주의, 번영, 웹, 혼돈, 기아, 질병, 폭력, 인공 지능, 전쟁. Las Vegas, NV USA: Reality Press. pp. 201-209.
    나는 컴퓨터로 계산과 우주의 한계에 대한 많은 최근의 토론을 읽었습니다, polymath 물리학자 및 결정 이론가 데이비드 울퍼트의 놀라운 작품에 대한 몇 가지 의견을 찾을 수 있기를 바라고 있지만 하나의 인용을 발견하지 않은 그래서 나는이 매우 간단한 요약을 제시. Wolpert는 계산을 수행하는 장치와 는 별개이며 물리학법칙과는 무관하므로 컴퓨터, 물리학 및 인간의 행동에 적용되므로 추론(계산)에 대한 제한에 대해 놀라운 불가능또는 불완전성 정리(1992년에서 2008년 참조 arxiv dot org)를 입증했습니다. 그들은 캔터의 대각선화, 거짓말쟁이 역설 및 세계관을 사용하여 튜링 머신 이론의 궁극적 인 정리가 될 (...)
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  2. O que significa paraconsistente, indecível, aleatório, computável e incompleto?- Uma revisão da ‘Godel’s Way: exploits into an undecidable world’ (Maneira de Godel: façanhas em um mundo indecidível) por Gregory Chaitin, Francisco A Doria, Newton C.A. da costa 160P (2012) (revisão revisada 2019).Michael Richard Starks - 2019 - In Delírios Utópicos Suicidas no Século XXI Filosofia, Natureza Humana e o Colapso da Civilization- Artigos e Comentários 2006-2019 5ª edição. Las Vegas, NV USA: Reality Press. pp. 168-182.
    Em "Godel's Way", três cientistas eminentes discutem questões como a undecidability, incompletude, aleatoriedade, computabilidade e paraconsistência. Eu abordar estas questões do ponto de vista Wittgensteinian que existem duas questões básicas que têm soluções completamente diferentes. Há as questões científicas ou empíricas, que são fatos sobre o mundo que precisam ser investigados observacionalmente e questões filosóficas sobre como a linguagem pode ser usada inteligìvelmente (que incluem certas questões em matemática e lógica), que precisam ser decidido por olhar uma como nós realmente (...)
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  3. Remarks on Wittgenstein, Gödel, Chaitin, Incompleteness, Impossiblity and the Psychological Basis of Science and Mathematics.Michael Richard Starks - 2019 - In Remarks on Impossibility, Incompleteness, Paraconsistency, Undecidability, Randomness, Computability, Paradox, Uncertainty and the Limits of Reason in Chaitin, Wittgenstein, Hofstadter, Wolpert, Doria, da Costa, Godel, Searle, Rodych, Berto, Floyd, Moyal. Las Vegas, NV USA: Reality Press. pp. 24-38.
    It is commonly thought that such topics as Impossibility, Incompleteness, Paraconsistency, Undecidability, Randomness, Computability, Paradox, Uncertainty and the Limits of Reason are disparate scientific physical or mathematical issues having little or nothing in common. I suggest that they are largely standard philosophical problems (i.e., language games) which were resolved by Wittgenstein over 80 years ago. -/- Wittgenstein also demonstrated the fatal error in regarding mathematics or language or our behavior in general as a unitary coherent logical ‘system,’ rather than as (...)
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  4. Über die deskriptive Unerschöpflichkeit der Einzeldinge.Geert Keil - 2006 - In Geert Keil & Udo Tietz (eds.), Phänomenologie und Sprachanalyse. Mentis. pp. 83-125.
    Der Topos von der Unerschöpflichkeit des Gegenstands wird mit der Phänomenologie assoziiert. Den ihm verwandten Topos von der Unaussprechlichkeit des Individuellen haben Goethe und die deutschen Romantiker in die Welt getragen. Der Diktion der analytischen Philosophie sind die Ausdrücke „unerschöpflich“ und „unaussprechlich“ fremd. Dieser Umstand sollte analytische Philosophen nicht davon abhalten, sich den sprachphilosophischen und ontologischen Problemen zuzuwenden, die sich hinter den besagten Formeln verbergen. Husserls Wort für Unerschöpflichkeit ist „Fülle“. Die „Fülle des Gegenstandes“ erläutert Husserl als den „Inbegriff der (...)
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  5. A Problem for Predicativism Not Solved by Predicativism.Anders J. Schoubye - forthcoming - Semantics and Pragmatics.
    In 'The Reference Book' (2012), Hawthorne and Manley observe the following contrast between (1) and (2): -/- (1) In every race John won. (2) In every race, the colt won. -/- The name 'John' in (1) must intuitively refer to the same single individual for each race. However, the description 'the colt' in (2) has a co-varying reading, i.e. a reading where for each race it refers to a different colt. This observation is a prima facie problem for proponents of (...)
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  6. Names Are Predicates.Delia Graff Fara - 2015 - Philosophical Review 124 (1):59-117.
    One reason to think that names have a predicate-type semantic value is that they naturally occur in count-noun positions: ‘The Michaels in my building both lost their keys’; ‘I know one incredibly sharp Cecil and one that's incredibly dull’. Predicativism is the view that names uniformly occur as predicates. Predicativism flies in the face of the widely accepted view that names in argument position are referential, whether that be Millian Referentialism, direct-reference theories, or even Fregean Descriptivism. But names are predicates (...)
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  7. Incomplete Descriptions, Incomplete Quantified Expressions (Part of the Dissertation Portfolio Modality, Names and Descriptions).Zsófia Zvolenszky - 2007 - Dissertation, New York University
    This paper offers a unified, quantificational treatment of incomplete descriptions like ‘the table’. An incomplete quantified expression like ‘every bottle’ (as in “Every bottle is empty”) can feature in true utterances despite the fact that the world contains nonempty bottles. Positing a contextual restriction on the bottles being talked about is a straightforward solution. It is argued that the same strategy can be extended to incomplete definite descriptions across the board. ncorporating the contextual restrictions into semantics involves meeting a complex (...)
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  8. The Semantics and Pragmatics of Complex Demonstratives.Ernest Lepore & Kirk Ludwig - 2000 - Mind 109 (434):199-240.
    Complex demonstratives, expressions of the form 'That F', 'These Fs', etc., have traditionally been taken to be referring terms. Yet they exhibit many of the features of quantified noun phrases. This has led some philosophers to suggest that demonstrative determiners are a special kind of quantifier, which can be paraphrased using a context sensitive definite description. Both these views contain elements of the truth, though each is mistaken. We advance a novel account of the semantic form of complex demonstratives that (...)
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  9. Parts and Wholes in Semantics (TOC).Friederike Moltmann - 1997 - Oxford University Press.
    This book present a unified semantic theory of expressions involving the notions of part and whole. It develops a theory of part structures which differs from traditional (extensional) mereological theories in that the notion of an integrated whole plays a central role and in that the part structure of an entity is allowed to vary across different situations, perspectives, and dimensions. The book presents a great range of empirical generalizations involving plurals, mass nouns, adnominal and adverbial modifiers such as 'whole', (...)
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Indefinite Descriptions
  1. Termos Singulares Indefinidos: Frege, Russell e a tradição matemática.Daniel Durante Pereira Alves - 2016 - Saberes: Filosofia E Educação (Filosofia Lógica e Metafísica An):33-53.
    É bem conhecida a divergência entre as posições de Gottlob Frege e Bertrand Russell com relação ao tratamento semântico dado a sentenças contendo termos singulares indefinidos, ou seja, termos singulares sem referência ou com referência ambígua, tais como ‘Papai Noel’ ou ‘o atual rei da França’ ou ‘1/0 ’ ou ‘√4’ ou ‘o autor de Principia Mathematica’. Para Frege, as sentenças da linguagem natural que contêm termos indefinidos não formam declarações e portanto não são nem verdadeiras nem falsas. Já para (...)
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  2. The Interpretation of Indefinites in Future Tensed Sentences. A Novel Argument for the Modality of Will?Fabio Del Prete - 2014 - In Mikhail Kissine, Philippe de Brabanter & Saghie Sharifzadeh (eds.), Oxford Studies of Time in Language and Thought.
    The chapter considers two semantic issues concerning will-sentences: Stalnaker’s Asymmetry and modal subordination in Karttunen-type discourses. The former points to a distinction between will and modal verbs, seeming to show that will does not license non-specific indefinites. The latter, conversely, suggests that will-sentences involve some kind of modality. To account for the data, the chapter proposes that will is semantically a tense, hence it doesn’t contribute a quantifier over modal alternatives; a modal feature, however, is introduced in the interpretation of (...)
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  3. Incomplete Descriptions, Incomplete Quantified Expressions (Part of the Dissertation Portfolio Modality, Names and Descriptions).Zsófia Zvolenszky - 2007 - Dissertation, New York University
    This paper offers a unified, quantificational treatment of incomplete descriptions like ‘the table’. An incomplete quantified expression like ‘every bottle’ (as in “Every bottle is empty”) can feature in true utterances despite the fact that the world contains nonempty bottles. Positing a contextual restriction on the bottles being talked about is a straightforward solution. It is argued that the same strategy can be extended to incomplete definite descriptions across the board. ncorporating the contextual restrictions into semantics involves meeting a complex (...)
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Presuppositional Account of Descriptions
  1. Presuppositional Anaphora Is The Sobel Truth.Daniel Dohrn - 2017 - In Salvatore Pistoia-Reda & Filippo Domaneschi (eds.), Linguistic and Psycholinguistic Approaches on Implicatures and Presuppositions. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 199-238.
    Sobel sequences have had a huge impact on the discussion of counterfactuals. They can be composed of conditionals and mere descriptions. What is especially puzzling about them is that they are often felicitously uttered when their reversal is not. Up to now, there is no unified explanation. I examine two strategies. We might begin with conditionals and proceed to descriptions. Or we might begin with descriptions and proceed to conditionals. I argue for the latter variant and outline a universal theory (...)
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Russell's Theory of Descriptions
  1. Two Treatments of Definite Descriptions in Intuitionist Negative Free Logic.Nils Kürbis - 2019 - Bulletin of the Section of Logic 48 (4):299-317.
    Sentences containing definite descriptions, expressions of the form ‘The F’, can be formalised using a binary quantifier ι that forms a formula out of two predicates, where ιx[F, G] is read as ‘The F is G’. This is an innovation over the usual formalisation of definite descriptions with a term forming operator. The present paper compares the two approaches. After a brief overview of the system INFι of intuitionist negative free logic extended by such a quantifier, which was presented in (...)
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  2. The Real Problem with Uniqueness.Andrei Moldovan - 2017 - SATS 18 (2):125-139.
    Arguments against the Russellian theory of definite descriptions based on cases that involve failures of uniqueness are a recurrent theme in the relevant literature. In this paper, I discuss a number of such arguments, from Strawson (1950), Ramachandran (1993) and Szabo (2005). I argue that the Russellian has resources to account for these data by deploying a variety of mechanisms of quantifier domain restrictions. Finally, I present a case that is more problematic for the Russellian. While the previous cases all (...)
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  3. Zelfpredicatie: Middeleeuwse en hedendaagse perspectieven.Jan Heylen & Can Laurens Löwe - 2017 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 79 (2):239-258.
    The focus of the article is the self-predication principle, according to which the/a such-and-such is such-and-such. We consider contemporary approaches (Frege, Russell, Meinong) to the self-predication principle, as well as fourteenth-century approaches (Burley, Ockham, Buridan). In crucial ways, the Ockham-Buridan view prefigures Russell’s view, and Burley’s view shows a striking resemblance to Meinong’s view. In short the Russell-Ockham-Buridan view holds: no existence, no truth. The Burley-Meinong view holds, in short: intelligibility suffices for truth. Both views approach self-predication in a uniform (...)
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  4. The Lying Test.Eliot Michaelson - 2016 - Mind and Language 31 (4):470-499.
    As an empirical inquiry into the nature of meaning, semantics must rely on data. Unfortunately, the primary data to which philosophers and linguists have traditionally appealed—judgments on the truth and falsity of sentences—have long been known to vary widely between competent speakers in a number of interesting cases. The present article constitutes an experiment in how to obtain some more consistent data for the enterprise of semantics. Specifically, it argues from some widely accepted Gricean premises to the conclusion that judgments (...)
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  5. Russell's Revenge: A Problem for Bivalent Fregean Theories of Descriptions.Jan Heylen - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (4):636-652.
    Fregean theories of descriptions as terms have to deal with improper descriptions. To save bivalence various proposals have been made that involve assigning referents to improper descriptions. While bivalence is indeed saved, there is a price to be paid. Instantiations of the same general scheme, viz. the one and only individual that is F and G is G, are not only allowed but even required to have different truth values.
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  6. Against the Russellian Open Future.Anders J. Schoubye & Brian Rabern - 2017 - Mind 126 (504): 1217–1237.
    Todd (2016) proposes an analysis of future-directed sentences, in particular sentences of the form 'will(φ)', that is based on the classic Russellian analysis of definite descriptions. Todd's analysis is supposed to vindicate the claim that the future is metaphysically open while retaining a simple Ockhamist semantics of future contingents and the principles of classical logic, i.e. bivalence and the law of excluded middle. Consequently, an open futurist can straightforwardly retain classical logic without appeal to supervaluations, determinacy operators, or any further (...)
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  7. Definite Descriptions and Semantic Pluralism.Brendan Murday - 2014 - Philosophical Papers 43 (2):255-284.
    We pose two arguments for the view that sentences containing definite descriptions semantically express multiple propositions: a general proposition as Russell suggested, and a singular proposition featuring the individual who uniquely satisfies the description at the world-time of utterance. One argument mirrors David Kaplan's arguments that indexicals express singular propositions through a context-sensitive character. The second argument mirrors Kent Bach's and Stephen Neale's arguments for pluralist views about terms putatively triggering conventional implicatures, appositive, and nonrestrictive relative clauses. After presenting these (...)
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  8. Incomplete Descriptions, Incomplete Quantified Expressions (Part of the Dissertation Portfolio Modality, Names and Descriptions).Zsófia Zvolenszky - 2007 - Dissertation, New York University
    This paper offers a unified, quantificational treatment of incomplete descriptions like ‘the table’. An incomplete quantified expression like ‘every bottle’ (as in “Every bottle is empty”) can feature in true utterances despite the fact that the world contains nonempty bottles. Positing a contextual restriction on the bottles being talked about is a straightforward solution. It is argued that the same strategy can be extended to incomplete definite descriptions across the board. ncorporating the contextual restrictions into semantics involves meeting a complex (...)
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  9. Definite Descriptions: What Frege Got Right and Russell Didn’T.Zsófia Zvolenszky - 1997 - Aporia Undergraduate Philosophy Journal:1-16.
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  10. How to Give Someone Horns. Paradoxes of Presupposition in Antiquity.Susanne Bobzien - 2012 - Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy 15:159-84.
    ABSTRACT: This paper discusses ancient versions of paradoxes today classified as paradoxes of presupposition and how their ancient solutions compare with contemporary ones. Sections 1-4 air ancient evidence for the Fallacy of Complex Question and suggested solutions, introduce the Horn Paradox, consider its authorship and contemporary solutions. Section 5 reconstructs the Stoic solution, suggesting the Stoics produced a Russellian-type solution based on a hidden scope ambiguity of negation. The difference to Russell's explanation of definite descriptions is that in the Horn (...)
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  11. The Ambiguity Thesis Vs. Kripke's Defence of Russell: Further Developments.Murali Ramachandran & Nadja Rosental - 2000 - Philosophical Writings 14:49-57.
    Kripke (1977) presents an argument designed to show that the considerations in Donnellan (1966) concerning attributive and referential uses of (definite) descriptions do not, by themselves, refute Russell’s (1905) unitary theory of description sentences (RTD), which takes (utterances of) them to express purely general, quantificational, propositions. Against Kripke, Marga Reimer (1998) argues that the two uses do indeed reflect a semantic ambiguity (an ambiguity at the level of literal truth conditions). She maintains a Russellian (quantificational) analysis of utterances involving attributively (...)
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  12. Descriptions as Predicates.Graff Fara Delia - 2001 - Philosophical Studies 102 (1):1-42.
    Although Strawson’s main aim in “On Referring” was to argue that definite descriptions can be used referentially – that is, “to mention or refer to some individual person or single object . . . , in the course of doing what we should normally describe as making a statement about that person [or] object” (1950, p. 320) – he denied that definite descriptions are always used referentially. The description in ‘Napoleon was the greatest French soldier’ is not used referentially, says (...)
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  13. Facing Facts?Graham Oppy - 2004 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (4):621 – 643.
    In his recent book, Stephen Neale provides an extended defence of the claim that Gödel's slingshot has dramatic consequences for fact theorists (and, in particular, for fact theorists who look with favour on referential treatments of definite descriptions). I argue that the book-length treatment provides no strengthening of the case that Neale has made elsewhere for this implausible claim. Moreover, I also argue that various criticisms of Neale's case that I made on a previous occasion have met with no successful (...)
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Descriptions, Misc
  1. Demonstratives, Definite Descriptions and Non-Redundancy.Kyle Hammet Blumberg - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (1):39-64.
    In some sentences, demonstratives can be substituted with definite descriptions without any change in meaning. In light of this, many have maintained that demonstratives are just a type of definite description. However, several theorists have drawn attention to a range of cases where definite descriptions are acceptable, but their demonstrative counterparts are not. Some have tried to account for this data by appealing to presupposition. I argue that such presuppositional approaches are problematic, and present a pragmatic account of the target (...)
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