Desires, descriptivism, and reference failure

Philosophical Studies 165 (1):279-296 (2013)
Abstract
I argue that mental descriptivism cannot be reasonably thought superior to rival theories on the grounds that it can (while they cannot) provide an elegant account of reference failure. Descriptivism about the particular-directed intentionality of our mental states fails when applied to desires. Consider, for an example, the desire that Satan not tempt me. On the descriptivist account, it looks like my desire would be fulfilled in conditions in which there exists exactly one thing satisfying some description only Satan satisfies (call it the Satanic Description). However, against this analysis, it is clearly compatible with desiring that Satan not tempt me that I also desire that there exist nothing satisfying the Satanic Description. The descriptivist has room for maneuver here, but the cost of accommodating this phenomenon is that the descriptivist shall no longer be able to use her theory to ameliorate the possibility of reference failure
Keywords Descriptivism  Desires  Propositional attitudes  Russell  Frege
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,404
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
David Braun (1993). Empty Names. Noûs 27 (4):449-469.
Michael Devitt (1989). Against Direct Reference. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 14 (1):206-240.
Richard Heck (2002). Do Demonstratives Have Senses? Philosophers' Imprint 2 (2):1-33.

View all 25 references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Robin Jeshion (2002). The Epistemological Argument Against Descriptivism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (2):325-345.
Michael McGlone (2010). Essentialist arguments against descriptivism. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (4):443-462.
Alexis Burgess (2013). Metalinguistic Descriptivism for Millians. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (3):443-457.
Robin Jeshion (2002). The Epistemological Argument Against Descriptivism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (2):325 - 345.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2012-05-12

Total downloads

19 ( #90,396 of 1,102,993 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #120,820 of 1,102,993 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.