Definite Descriptions and Semantic Pluralism

Philosophical Papers 43 (2):255-284 (2014)
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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 arguments, we show that rival explanations (appeals to implicature, referential use, presupposition, etc.) do not offer equally compelling explanations of the data, and defend the methodology employed in the arguments against some criticisms
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Themes From Kaplan.Almog, Joseph; Perry, John & Wettstein, Howard (eds.)
Reference and Essence.Salmon, Nathan U.

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