Kripke's metalinguistic apparatus and the analysis of definite descriptions

Philosophical Studies 156 (3):363-387 (2011)
This article reconsiders Kripke’s ( 1977 , in: French, Uehling & Wettstein (eds) Contemporary perspectives in the philosophy of language, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis) pragmatic, univocal account of the attributive-referential distinction in terms of a metalinguistic apparatus consisting of semantic reference and speaker reference. It is argued that Kripke’s strongest methodological argument supporting the pragmatic account, the parallel applicability of the apparatus to both names and definite descriptions, is successful only if descriptions are treated as designators in both attributive and referential uses. It is not successful if descriptions are treated à la Russell, contrary to what is often assumed. Thus a third theoretical option for the semantic analysis of definite descriptions arises, neglected by both supporters and opponents of Russell: a univocal, referentialist analysis of descriptions in conjunction with a pragmatic account of the attributive-referential distinction. Contrary to Kripke, and to much of the literature, it is noted that not all so-called referential uses involve implicatures. In the course of the argument Kripke’s innovative apparatus is subjected to improvements and fine-tunings. Also, some general critical comments are made about analogical reasoning, on which Kripke’s argument is partly based. This leads to a clarification of the fundamental notion of speaker reference. The paper concludes with reflections on the challenge to and need of systematic empirical evidence in this field, a desideratum noted by Kripke and still not met.
Keywords Reference  Attributive-referential  Semantics  Pragmatics  Definite descriptions  Singular terms  Referring expressions  Implicatures  Quantifiers  Analogical reasoning  Experimental pragmatics  Saul Kripke  Keith Donnellan  Bertrand Russell  Mark Sainsbury  François Recanati
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11098-010-9608-y
 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
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 25,711
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Descriptions.Stephen Neale - 1990 - MIT Press.
Thought and Reference.Kent Bach - 1987 - Oxford University Press.
Reference and Definite Descriptions.Keith S. Donnellan - 1966 - Philosophical Review 75 (3):281-304.

View all 24 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Descriptions: Points of Reference.Kent Bach - 2004 - In Marga Reimer & Anne Bezuidenhout (eds.), Descriptions and Beyond. Clarendon Press. pp. 189-229.
Methodological Reflections on Two Kripkean Strategies.Murali Ramachandran - 1994 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 95:67 - 81.
Reference and Definite Descriptions.Keith S. Donnellan - 1966 - Philosophical Review 75 (3):281-304.
Referentially Used Descriptions: A Reply to Devitt.Kent Bach - 2007 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 3 (2):33-48.
Definite Descriptions, Negation and Necessitation.Charles Sayward - 1993 - Russell: The Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies 13 (1):36-47.
The Real Distinction Between Descriptions and Indexicals.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2005 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 24 (3):49-74.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

57 ( #87,817 of 2,146,257 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #226,709 of 2,146,257 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums