The Ambiguity Thesis vs. Kripke's Defence of Russell: Further Developments

Philosophical Writings 14:49-57 (2000)
Abstract
Kripke (1977) presents an argument designed to show that the considerations in Donnellan (1966) concerning attributive and referential uses of (definite) descriptions do not, by themselves, refute Russell’s (1905) unitary theory of description sentences (RTD), which takes (utterances of) them to express purely general, quantificational, propositions. Against Kripke, Marga Reimer (1998) argues that the two uses do indeed reflect a semantic ambiguity (an ambiguity at the level of literal truth conditions). She maintains a Russellian (quantificational) analysis of utterances involving attributively used descriptions but attempts to defend the following two claims about utterances involving referentially used descriptions (referential utterances) (1998, p. 89).
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