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

Philosophical Writings 14:49-57 (2000)
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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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Murali Ramachandran
University of Witwatersrand

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References found in this work

On Denoting.Bertrand Russell - 1905 - Mind 14 (56):479-493.
On Denoting.Bertrand Russell - 2005 - Mind 114 (456):873 - 887.
Reference and definite descriptions.Keith S. Donnellan - 1966 - Philosophical Review 75 (3):281-304.
Speaker’s Reference and Semantic Reference.Saul A. Kripke - 1977 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 2 (1):255-276.
Speaker's reference and semantic reference.Saul A. Kripke - 1977 - In Peter A. French, Theodore Edward Uehling & Howard K. Wettstein (eds.), Studies in the philosophy of language. Morris: University of Minnesota, Morris. pp. 255-296.

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