Edited by Eliot Michaelson (King's College London)
|Summary||Descriptions commonly appear in the predicate place, as in "x is an F" or "x is the G." Neither the Russellian analysis, the Frege/Strawson analysis, nor the Donnellean analyis of descriptions easily accommodates such uses of descriptions, however. The problem is that descriptions in the predicate place seem to specify properties, not quantifiers or objects. This raises two questions: first, how ought we to account for predicate-place descriptions? And, second, is unified analysis of subject- and predicate-place descriptions is possible. Attempts to offer such analyses have tended to treat descriptions as denoting properties rather than quantifiers.|
|Key works||Kamp 1981 and Heim 1982 are largely responsible for introducing the predicative analysis of descriptions into formal semantics (for descriptions in the predicate place, specifically). In the philosophical literature, Geach 1962 and Wiggins 1965 were early observers of the problems generated by predicate place descriptions. More recently, Delia 2001 has proposed a unified analysis of descriptions according to which all descriptions are treated as predicates.|
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