Descriptions As Predicates

Philosophical Studies 102 (1):1-42 (2001)
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Abstract
Although Strawson’s main aim in “On Referring” was to argue that definite descriptions can be used referentially – that is, “to mention or refer to some individual person or single object . . . , in the course of doing what we should normally describe as making a statement about that person [or] object” (1950, p. 320) – he denied that definite descriptions are always used referentially. The description in ‘Napoleon was the greatest French soldier’ is not used referentially, says Strawson, since it is used not to mention an individual, but only “to say something about an individual already mentioned” (p. 320). This is an example of what we may call a predicative use of a definite description, though such uses might be better illustrated by considering the false sentence..
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Philosophy of Mind   Philosophy of Religion
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1010379409594
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