Michael O'Rourke

Abstract

Many philosophers of language have held that a truth-conditional semantic account can explain the data motivating the distinction between referential and attributive uses of definite descriptions, but I believe this is a mistake. I argue that these data also motivate what I call “dual-aspect” uses as a distinct but closely related type. After establishing that an account of the distinction must also explain dual-aspect uses, I argue that the truth-conditional Semantic Model of the distinction cannot. Thus, the Semantic Model cannot explain the data for which it is developed and so fails as an account of the referential/attributive distinction.

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Michael O'Rourke
Michigan State University

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