Authors
Robert Stainton
Western University
Abstract
Definite descriptions (e.g. 'The king of France in 1997', 'The teacher of Aristotle') do not stand for particulars. Or so I will assume. The semantic alternative has seemed to be that descriptions only have meaning within sentences: i.e., that their semantic contribution is given syncategorimatically. This doesn't seem right, however, because descriptions can be used and understood outside the context of any sentence. Nor is this use simply a matter of "ellipsis." Since descriptions do not denote particulars, but seem to have a meaning in isolation, I propose that they be assigned generalized quantifiers as denotations — i.e. a kind of function, from sets/properties to propositions. I then defend the pragmatic plausibility of this proposal, using Relevance Theory. Specifically, I argue that, even taken as standing for generalized quantifiers, descriptions could still be used and understood in interpersonal communication.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,226
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Intensional Perceptual Ascriptions.David Bourget - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (3):513-530.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Co-Extensive Theories and Unembedded Definite Descriptions.Alex Barber - 2005 - In Reinaldo Elugardo & Robert J. Stainton (eds.), Ellipsis and Nonsentential Speech. Springer. pp. 185–201.
Reference and Definite Descriptions.Keith S. Donnellan - 1966 - Philosophical Review 75 (3):281-304.
Descriptions: Points of Reference.Kent Bach - 2004 - In Marga Reimer & Anne Bezuidenhout (eds.), Descriptions and Beyond. Clarendon Press. pp. 189-229.
Sharvy's Theory of Definite Descriptions Revisited.Berit Brogaard - 2007 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 88 (2):160–180.
The Real Distinction Between Descriptions and Indexicals.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2005 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 24 (3):49-74.
The Existence Entailments of Definite Descriptions.Paul Elbourne - 2010 - Linguistics and Philosophy 33 (1):1-10.
Ambiguous Articles: An Essay On The Theory Of Descriptions.Francesco Pupa - 2008 - Dissertation, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Descriptions with Adverbs of Quantification.Delia Graff Fara - 2006 - Philosophical Issues 16 (1):65–87.
Issues in the Semantics and Pragmatics of Definite Descriptions in English.Barbara Abbott - 2008 - In Nancy Hedberg & Jeanette Gundel (eds.), Reference: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Oxford University Press. pp. 61-72.
Descriptions with Adverbs of Quantification.Delia Graff Fara - 2006 - Philosophical Issues, Volume 16: Philosophy of Language 16:65–87.
Content, Thoughts, and Definite Descriptions.Peter Millican - 1990 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 64 (1):167 - 220.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-09-08

Total views
11 ( #849,411 of 2,499,741 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #418,066 of 2,499,741 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes