On the Russellian reformation

Philosophical Studies 147 (2):247 - 271 (2010)
Abstract
Recently, an orthodox Russellian tenet has come under fire from within. In particular, some Russellians now argue that definite descriptions don’t semantically encode uniqueness. Instead, Reformed Russellians, as I call them, hold that definite descriptions are truth-theoretically identical to indefinite ones. On this approach, a definite description’s uniqueness reading becomes a matter of pragmatics, not semantics. These reforms, we’re told, provide both empirical and methodological benefits over and above the prevailing orthodoxy. As I argue, however, the Russellian Reformation contains serious flaws. Indeed, it is Orthodox Russellianism that remains a superior choice, both empirically and conceptually.
Keywords Descriptions  Russell, Bertrand  Uniqueness  Incompleteness  Monotonicity  Familiarity theory of definiteness
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Jon Barwise & John Perry (1981). Situations and Attitudes. Journal of Philosophy 78 (11):668-691.

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