Russell's theory of definite descriptions

Mind 114 (456):1135-1183 (2005)

Abstract

The proper statement and assessment of Russell's theory depends on one's semantic presuppositions. A semantic framework is provided, and Russell's theory formulated in terms of it. Referential uses of descriptions raise familiar problems for the theory, to which there are, at the most general level of abstraction, two possible Russellian responses. Both are considered, and both found wanting. The paper ends with a brief consideration of what the correct positive theory of definite descriptions might be, if it is not the Russellian theory.

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Author's Profile

Stephen Schiffer
New York University

References found in this work

The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Convention: A Philosophical Study.David Kellogg Lewis - 1969 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
On Denoting.Bertrand Russell - 1905 - Mind 14 (56):479-493.
Meaning.Herbert Paul Grice - 1957 - Philosophical Review 66 (3):377-388.
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