Donnellan: “Reference and Definite Descriptions”. TWO USES OF . sentence “ Keith asserted that Smith’s murderer is insane.” To capture the. Keith Donnellan, “Reference and Definite Descriptions”. Due Feb 13, by 10am; Points 5; Submitting a discussion post; Available after Feb 2, at 12am. Keith Donnellan, Joseph Almog, and Paolo Leonardi function is the referential use of definite description, in which the speaker uses it to refer to something.

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Abbotrecognizes that cases like this are false, but argues that what is going on is that the speakers are engaged in hyperbole. How does this help in the desfriptions of intermediate scope? Can these also be rejected? Only in the latter case would it make sense to ask, “Who do you mean? The attributive use most nearly reflects Russell’s understanding of descriptions.

Sharvy suggested that a unified treatment is indeed possible this is also a possibility that Chomsky saw. You’ve already rated students with this rubric. Alternatively, some writers have argued adn that the problem of incomplete definite descriptions can be accounted for if we pursue an appropriate theory of quantifier domain restriction.

Reference and Definite Descriptions – Oxford Scholarship

This general strategy gives us some explanation for why indefinites sometimes appear to dohnellan island escaping properties as defiinite cases like conditionals. Clearly if these pronouns are referring expressions then any victories won through the theory of descriptions are going to be fleeting. Academic Tools How to cite this entry.

A unified Russellian treatment of the constructions seems possible. It is possible to understand CooperHeimChemlaSchlenkerand Romoli as holding that the maximality component is presupposed.

Here we use the hash symbol to indicate a failed implicature cancellation. Reference and Generality, Ithaca: We can say that this is a case where what we literally said was false, but that what we intended to communicate—the proposition meant—was true.


There are obviously two responses to Strawson here.

Reference and Definite Descriptions

Written in response to the work of Bertrand Russell and P. Quantified expressions are ordinarily considered to be clause bound. Pragmatics Volume 9Cambridge, MA: In the case of 46for example, we are saying Lufthansa is the most German airline of German airlines. Russell has not been alone in thinking that descriptions and definite determiners are important. Everyone now recognizes that intermediate scope is a possibility in cases like 30 and 31but the question is just what mechanisms make it possible?

For example, Abbott argues that the pragmatic story in which the uniqueness of some descriptions is conversationally implicated fails because it predicts that the uniqueness implication should be cancellable, but according to Abbott, it is not.

Examples would be the following: Does it follow that we must admit two different kinds of descriptions quantificational and predicational?

So for example, we read:. Essays in Honor of Michael DummettOxford: Kripke also stressed that this is not really a point about conditional or modal sentences—the same point can be made for simple declarative sentences evaluated in a counterfactual situation.

In section VII, he denies that it is any sort of ambiguity, either syntatic e.

On the other hand, once the free variables are interpreted the effect comes to very much the same thing: The answer sheet was stolen from my office. 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.

Knowledge of MeaningReferenfe, MA: What it allows us to do is to make sense of cases where we employ nondenoting pronouns in negative existentials, belief reports, and fictional contexts. Situations and IndividualsCambridge, MA: In the attributive case, the implication or presupposition is general: This chapter discusses definite descriptions, arguing that they have two possible descfiptions and that failure to deal with this duality of function obscures the genuine referring use of definite descriptions.


Here the basic idea is that the content of a description picks out different contents in different possible worlds.

Saul Kripke gave a series of three lectures at Princeton University inlater published as Naming and Necessity[4] in which he argued against descriptivism and sketched the causal-historical theory of reference according to which each proper name necessarily designates a particular object and that the identity of the object so designated is determined by the history of the name’s use. The task for philosophers of language now is the thorny task of figuring out what information they do encode.

This area will be used by the assessor to leave comments related to this criterion. Oxford University Press, 13— The Reference BookOxford: DesignationNew York: Von Fintel and Yablo offer an explanation for these minimal pairs that draws upon the nature of belief revision.

Perhaps there is a single logical element or perhaps just a free variable with different pragmatic application conditions. We want to know precisely why a pronoun looks like a definite description here, but an indefinite description there. As we will see, none of these concerns have been completely ameliorated.

Sign in to use this feature. Frege proposed that that the solution to this puzzle involved the introduction of senses—abstract objects that fix the referents of these expressions, each having a different cognitive significance. And, as Donnellan is at pains to emphasize pp.

Is it to be a description that the speaker has in mind? The different uses of descriptions then stem from the application of Gricean principles of conversational implicature to what was literally said.