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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On the standard Russellian analysis, we get something like a claim that John wants that there be a unique ghost in his attic and that it stop making so much noise. A1 Indefinites lack quantificational force of their own A2 An indefinite NP in an argument position, however, ends up denoting an individual, because the semantics involves a free function variable that assigns an individual to the restriction predicate. I hit my head on the side window of the car.

In section VI, Donnellan argues that his results are inconsistent both with Russell’s theory and with Strawson’s.

Keith S. Donnellan, Reference and definite descriptions – PhilPapers

In effect, all the unwelcome metaphysical commitments that we banished by using descriptions would re-enter via the back door as soon as we employ anaphoric pronouns in our discourse. Oxford University Press, 38— He turned on the TV.

Essays on the Philosophy of LanguageLondon: Paul Elbourne – – Linguistics and Philosophy 33 1: A2 An indefinite NP in an argument position, however, ends up denoting an individual, because the semantics involves a free function variable that assigns an individual to the restriction predicate.


More significantly, Schoubye observes that with some modest contextual framing the truth value judgments on these examples can flip.


Don’t have an account? He could have been run over by a chariot at age two. Hopefully, there was only one student involved.

What is asserted is simply an open sentence! See Groendijk and StokhofChierchiavan der Doesand also see van Refference for criticism. The descriptive information that we associate with names just is not sufficient to pick out the intended referent.

Science Logic and Mathematics. Can’t change a rubric once you’ve started using it. Now what I have literally said is that Jones is working up a sweat, but what I have communicated what I meant is something about Johnson.

Fx ] Gx receives in a standard truth-conditional semantics. Stanford University Press, — We can evaluate this sentence in other possible worlds. Heim observed that 20 unlike 19 implies that a unique man entered the room and that 20 will therefore be false if two men enter the room.

What is also intriguing about this line of inquiry is that it suggests a new strategy for accounting for definiteness. In the referential case, it would seem, there is only a “presumption” that the object about which one wishes to speak fits the anc. A referenxe announces the following to the class, with a single red haired student in the front row. Since the pronoun in 1 gets its content from the description that it is anaphoric on, and because the pronoun refers, it must be the case that the description also refers.

Pragmatics Volume 9Cambridge, MA: We now run into the teeth of the problem of unwanted ambiguity.

Alternatively, some writers have argued that that the problem of incomplete definite descriptions can be accounted for if we pursue an appropriate theory of quantifier domain restriction. A number of authors have observed that the traditional Russellian analysis of definite descriptions gets us into trouble when we embed descriptions into certain environments like propositional attitudes, conditionals, and questions see Heim Elbourne,forthcomingNealeRothschildHawthorne and Manley and Schoubye The interesting conceptual issue that arises, whether we opt for standard DRT desscriptions or such accounts supplemented with choice functions, is whether this departs from the Russellian analysis of indefinite descriptions in descrriptions ways.


Keith Donnellan

Readings in the Philosophy of Language. The present king of France read Anna Karenina. In 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 in the analysis.

Edit criterion description Delete criterion row This criterion is linked ddonnellan a Learning Outcome Description of criterion view longer description Range threshold: Russell has not been alone in thinking that descriptions and definite determiners are important.

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Definite descriptions, I shall argue, have two possible functions. Is it always clear that the speaker has a description in mind? He argued that definite descriptions can be used in at least two different ways. One of the arguments that Strawson enlisted on behalf of the referential theory of descriptions was the following. In some cases this would yield a possessive meaning.

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.