Review of "Descriptions and Beyond" [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Pragmatics and Cognition 14 (1):196-204 (2006)
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 what is literally meant by a given sentence-token is sometimes embedded in non-semantic knowledge, resulting in a cleavage between what that sentence-token literally means and what the auditor in question takes it to mean. Such deviations obviously have nothing to do with the principles put forth by Grice, since those principles only concern sentence-tokens that have already been understood---since, to put it another way, those principles only concern post-semantic implicature. The just-described deviations are appropriately described as being due to "pre-semantic implicature." Given the phenomenon of pre-semantic implicature, it is easily shown that Russell's Theory of Descriptions, if taken as a theory of literal meaning, is false. In the present volume, these rather elementary principles are entirely ignored, and all of the articles in it are sterile repetitions of the points made by Russell and Strawson. The blinkered approach to language embodied in this volume must be reconsidered in light of psychological principles relating to language-acquisition and language-use. Unfortunately, analytic philosophers shy away from such topics, as is made clear by the papers in this grim volume
|Keywords||definite descriptions Reimer Bezuidenhout|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Robert J. Stainton (1998). Unembedded Definite Descriptions and Relevance. Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses 11:231-239.
ST Kuhn (2000). Embedded Definite Descriptions: Russellian Analysis and Semantic Puzzles. Mind 109 (435):443-454.
Marga Reimer & Anne Bezuidenhout (eds.) (2004). Descriptions and Beyond. Oxford University Press.
Alex Barber (2005). Co-Extensive Theories and Unembedded Definite Descriptions. In Reinaldo Elugardo & Robert J. Stainton (eds.), Ellipsis and Nonsentential Speech. Springer 185–201.
Keith S. Donnellan (1966). Reference and Definite Descriptions. Philosophical Review 75 (3):281-304.
Stephen Schiffer (2005). Russell's Theory of Definite Descriptions. Mind 114 (456):1135-1183.
Francesco Pupa (2008). Ambiguous Articles: An Essay On The Theory Of Descriptions. Dissertation, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Scott Soames (2009). Philosophical Essays: Natural Language: What It Means and How We Use It. Princeton University Press.
Anne Bezuidenhout & Marga Reimer (eds.) (2004). Descriptions and Beyond. Oxford University Press.
Delia Graff Fara (2006). Descriptions with Adverbs of Quantification. Philosophical Issues, Volume 16: Philosophy of Language 16:65–87.
Paulo Roberto Margutti Pinto, Wittgenstein and Semantic Presuppositions Generated by Definite Descriptions in Subject-Position.
Thomas D. Bontly (2005). Conversational Implicature and the Referential Use of Descriptions. Philosophical Studies 125 (1):1 - 25.
Filip Kawczyński (2007). O atrybutywnych i referencyjnych użyciach deskrypcji określonych. Filozofia Nauki 4.
Kent Bach (2004). Descriptions: Points of Reference. In Marga Reimer & Anne Bezuidenhout (eds.), Descriptions and Beyond. Clarendon Press 189-229.
Added to index2012-09-30
Total downloads109 ( #34,261 of 1,792,924 )
Recent downloads (6 months)29 ( #26,834 of 1,792,924 )
How can I increase my downloads?