Definite Descriptions and the Argument from Inference

Philosophia 42 (4):1099-1109 (2014)
Authors
Abstract
This article discusses the “Argument from Inference” raised against the view that definite descriptions are semantically referring expressions. According to this argument, the indicated view is inadequate since it evaluates some invalid inferences with definite descriptions as “valid” and vice versa. I argue that the Argument from Inference is basically wrong. Firstly, it is crucially based on the assumption that a proponent of the view that definite descriptions are referring expressions conceives them as directly referring terms, i.e., the terms which contribute their referents into the semantic content of the sentences in which they occur. However, the framework of direct reference is not essential to the idea that descriptions might have semantic referential interpretation. Secondly, the Argument of Inference - if correct - suffices to establish an overgeneralized conclusion that even paradigmatically referring terms, like proper names, cannot be semantically referential. This fact indicates that the argument is flawed. In the final part of this article, I briefly consider what the source of the problem with the Argument of Inference might be
Keywords Definite descriptions  Direct reference  Inference  Referential use  Semantic theory
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11406-014-9519-9
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 35,865
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Descriptions.Stephen Neale - 1990 - MIT Press.
The Reference Book.John Hawthorne & David Manley - 2012 - Oxford University Press.
Descriptions and Uniqueness.Zoltán Gendler Szabó - 2000 - Philosophical Studies 101 (1):29-57.
On a Unitary Semantical Analysis for Definite and Indefinite Descriptions.Peter Ludlow & Gabriel Segal - 2004 - In Marga Reimer & Anne Bezuidenhout (eds.), Descriptions and Beyond. Oxford University Press. pp. 420-437.

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Wettstein on Definite Descriptions.William K. Blackburn - 1988 - Philosophical Studies 53 (2):263 - 278.
¿Descripciones definidas referenciales?Pierre Baumann - 2011 - Princípios 18 (29):285-298.
Demonstrative Reference and Definite Descriptions.Howard K. Wettstein - 1981 - Philosophical Studies 40 (2):241--257.
Ambiguous Articles: An Essay On The Theory Of Descriptions.Francesco Pupa - 2008 - Dissertation, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Reference and Definite Descriptions.Keith S. Donnellan - 1966 - Philosophical Review 75 (3):281-304.
Puzzles About Descriptive Names.Edward Kanterian - 2009 - Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (4):409-428.
Descriptions Which Have Grown Capital Letters.Brian Rabern - 2015 - Mind and Language 30 (3):292-319.
The Double Life of 'The Mayor of Oakland'.Michael Rieppel - 2013 - Linguistics and Philosophy 36 (5):417-446.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2014-03-06

Total downloads
16 ( #374,410 of 2,293,811 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #410,358 of 2,293,811 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature