David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 6 (2):47 - 66 (2010)
In this paper I offer a defence of a Russellian analysis of the referential uses of incomplete (mis)descriptions, in a contextual setting. With regard to the debate between a unificationist and an ambiguity approach to the formal treatment of definite descriptions (introduction), I will support the former against the latter. In 1. I explain what I mean by "essentially" incomplete descriptions: incomplete descriptions are context dependent descriptions. In 2. I examine one of the best versions of the unificationist “explicit” approach given by Buchanan and Ostertag. I then show that this proposal seems unable to treat the normal uses of misdescriptions. I then accept the challenge of treating misdescriptions as a key to solving the problem of context dependent descriptions. In 3. I briefly discuss Michael Devitt’s and Joseph Almog’s treatments of referential descriptions, showing that they find it difficult to explain misdescriptions. In 4. I suggest an alternative approach to DD as contextuals, under a normative epistemic stance. Definite descriptions express (i) what a speaker should have in mind in using certain words in a certain context and (ii) what a normal speaker is justified in saying in a context, given a common basic knowledge of the lexicon. In 5. I define a procedure running on contextual parameters (partiality, perspective and approximation) as a means of representing the role of pragmatics as a filter for semantic interpretation. In 6. I defend my procedural approach against possible objections concerning the problem of the boundaries between semantics and pragmatics, relying on the distinction between semantics and theory of meaning
|Keywords||Definite Descriptions Contextual Reasoning Stephen Neale Michael Devitt Joseph Almog Bertrand Russell John McCarthy|
|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
Carlo Penco (2012). Updating the Turing Test. Wittgenstein, Turing and Symbol Manipulation. Open Journal of Philosophy 2 (3):189-194.
Similar books and articles
Kent Bach (2004). Descriptions: Points of Reference. In Marga Reimer & Anne Bezuidenhout (eds.), Descriptions and Beyond. Clarendon Press
Manuel García-Carpintero (2005). The Real Distinction Between Descriptions and Indexicals. Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 24 (3):49-74.
Scott Soames (2009). Philosophical Essays: Natural Language: What It Means and How We Use It. Princeton University Press.
Marga Reimer (1992). Incomplete Descriptions. Erkenntnis 37 (3):347 - 363.
Keith S. Donnellan (1966). Reference and Definite Descriptions. Philosophical Review 75 (3):281-304.
Berit Brogaard (2010). Descriptions: An Annotated Bibliography. Oxford Annotated Bibliographies Online.
Stephen Schiffer (2005). Russell's Theory of Definite Descriptions. Mind 114 (456):1135-1183.
Paul Elbourne (2010). The Existence Entailments of Definite Descriptions. Linguistics and Philosophy 33 (1):1-10.
Wojciech Rostworowski (2011). Rigid Designation and Definite Descriptions. Filozofia Nauki 4.
ST Kuhn (2000). Embedded Definite Descriptions: Russellian Analysis and Semantic Puzzles. Mind 109 (435):443-454.
Kent Bach (2007). Referentially Used Descriptions: A Reply to Devitt. European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 3 (2):33-48.
Marga Reimer & Anne Bezuidenhout (eds.) (2004). Descriptions and Beyond. Oxford University Press.
Added to index2010-10-10
Total downloads101 ( #24,787 of 1,725,426 )
Recent downloads (6 months)13 ( #53,187 of 1,725,426 )
How can I increase my downloads?