Russellian description and Smith's suicide

Acta Analytica 18 (1-2):125-141 (2003)
When discussing the distinction between referential and attributive uses of definite descriptions, Keith Donnellan also mentions cases such as ‘Smith’s murderer is insane’, uttered in a scenario in which Smith committed suicide. In this essay, I defend a two-fold thesis: (i) the alleged intuition that utterances of ‘Smith’s murderer is insane’ are true in the scenario in question is independent from the phenomenon of referential uses of definite description, and, most importantly, (ii) even if such intuition is granted semantic relevance, the evidence it presents is compatible with a Russellian treatment of definite descriptions. I thus present a Russellian analysis of ‘Smith’s murderer is insane’ which, when coupled with certain independently plausible hypotheses, explains the presumed intuition that certain utterances of this sentence are indeed true, at least as long as the intended individual is insane
Keywords Donnellan  Russell  Kripke  descriptions  referential-attributive
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s12136-003-1017-9
 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: 16,667
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
Jon Barwise & John Perry (1981). Situations and Attitudes. Journal of Philosophy 78 (11):668-691.
Bertrand Russell (2005). On Denoting. Mind 114 (456):873 - 887.

View all 21 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

31 ( #102,719 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

10 ( #66,646 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

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