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Russell's theory of definite descriptions

Mind 114 (456):1135-1183 (2005)

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  1. Why Bare Demonstratives Need Not Semantically Refer.J. P. Smit - 2012 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 42 (1):43-66.
    I-theories of bare demonstratives take the semantic referent of a demonstrative to be determined by an inner state of the utterer. E-theories take the referent to be determined by factors external to the utterer. I argue that, on the Standard view of communication, neither of these theories can be right. Firstly, both are committed to the existence of conventions with superfluous content. Secondly, any claim to the effect that a speaker employs the conventions associated with these theories cannot have any (...)
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  • Intention-Sensitive Semantics.A. Stokke - 2010 - Synthese 175 (3):383-404.
    A number of authors have argued that the fact that certain indexicals depend for their reference-determination on the speaker’s referential intentions demonstrates the inadequacy of associating such expressions with functions from contexts to referents (characters). By distinguishing between different uses to which the notion of context is put in these argument, I show that this line of argument fails. In the course of doing so, I develop a way of incorporating the role played by intentions into a character-based semantics for (...)
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  • A Defense of the Knowledge Argument.John Martin DePoe - unknown
    Defenders of the Knowledge Argument contend that physicalism is false because knowing all the physical truths is not sufficient to know all the truths about the world. In particular, proponents of the Knowledge Argument claim that physicalism is false because the truths about the character of conscious experience are not knowable from the complete set of physical truths. This dissertation is a defense of the Knowledge Argument. Chapter one characterizes what physicalism is and provides support for the claim that if (...)
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  • Conversational Exculpature.Daniel Hoek - 2018 - Philosophical Review 127 (2):151-196.
    Conversational exculpature is a pragmatic process whereby information is subtracted from, rather than added to, what the speaker literally says. This pragmatic content subtraction explains why we can say “Rob is six feet tall” without implying that Rob is between 5'0.99" and 6'0.01" tall, and why we can say “Ellen has a hat like the one Sherlock Holmes always wears” without implying Holmes exists or has a hat. This article presents a simple formalism for understanding this pragmatic mechanism, specifying how, (...)
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  • A Defense of Russellian Descriptivism.Brandt H. van der Gaast - unknown
    In this dissertation, I defend a Russellian form of descriptivism. The main supporting argument invokes a relation between meaning and thought. I argue that the meanings of sentences are the thoughts people use them to express. This is part of a Gricean outlook on meaning according to which psychological intentionality is prior to, and determinative of, linguistic intentionality. The right approach to thought, I argue in Chapter 1, is a type of functionalism on which thoughts have narrow contents. On this (...)
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  • Against the Russellian Open Future.Anders J. Schoubye & Brian Rabern - 2017 - Mind 126 (504): 1217–1237.
    Todd (2016) proposes an analysis of future-directed sentences, in particular sentences of the form 'will(φ)', that is based on the classic Russellian analysis of definite descriptions. Todd's analysis is supposed to vindicate the claim that the future is metaphysically open while retaining a simple Ockhamist semantics of future contingents and the principles of classical logic, i.e. bivalence and the law of excluded middle. Consequently, an open futurist can straightforwardly retain classical logic without appeal to supervaluations, determinacy operators, or any further (...)
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  • Has the Problem of Incompleteness Rested on a Mistake?Ray Buchanan & Gary Ostertag - 2005 - Mind 114 (456):889-913.
    A common objection to Russell's theory of descriptions concerns incomplete definite descriptions: uses of (for example) ‘the book is overdue’ in contexts where there is clearly more than one book. Many contemporary Russellians hold that such utterances will invariably convey a contextually determined complete proposition, for example, that the book in your briefcase is overdue. But according to the objection this gets things wrong: typically, when a speaker utters such a sentence, no facts about the context or the speaker's communicative (...)
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  • Against Structured Referring Expressions.Arthur Sullivan - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 146 (1):49 - 74.
    Following Neale, I call the notion that there can be no such thing as a structured referring expression ‘structure skepticism’. The specific aim of this paper is to defuse some putative counterexamples to structure skepticism. The general aim is to bolster the case in favor of the thesis that lack of structure—in a sense to be made precise—is essential to reference.
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  • Definite Descriptions Are Ambiguous.Felipe S. Amaral - 2008 - Analysis 68 (4):288-297.
  • Term Limits Revisited.Stephen Neale - 2008 - Philosophical Perspectives 22 (1):375-442.
  • The Speaker Authority Problem for Context-Sensitivity.Karen S. Lewis - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-29.
    Context-sensitivity raises a metasemantic question: what determines the value of a context-sensitive expression in context? Taking gradable adjectives as a case study, this paper argues against various forms of intentionalist metasemantics, i.e. that speaker intentions determine values for context-sensitive expressions in context, including the coordination account recently defended by King :219–237, 2014a; in: Burgess, Sherman Metasemantics: New essays on the foundations of meaning, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 97–118, 2014b). The paper argues that all intentionalist accounts face the speaker authority (...)
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  • The Role of Context in Contextualism.Martin Montminy - 2013 - Synthese 190 (12):2341-2366.
    According to a view widely held by epistemic contextualists, the truth conditions of a knowledge claim depend on features of the context such as the presuppositions, interests and purposes of the conversational participants. Against this view, I defend an intentionalist account, according to which the truth conditions of a knowledge attribution are determined by the speaker’s intention. I show that an intentionalist version of contextualism has several advantages over its more widely accepted rival account.
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