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By Stephen Neale

In 1905, Bertrand Russell argued that definite logical puzzles are solved if yes descriptions are taken care of as quantified expressions instead of referential expression, as Frege had notion. because then, philosophers and, extra lately, linguists have debated the relevance of this paradigm to the examine of the semantics of common language. In Descriptions, Stephen Neale offers the 1st sustained safety and extension of Russell's idea, putting it within the middle of a concept of singular and nonsingular descriptive words and anaphoric pronouns.Stephen Neale is Assistant Professor of Philosophy on the college of California, Berkeley.

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After examining a common misunderstanding about descriptions and the Principle of Substitutivity, I examine Quine's argument against quantifying into modal contexts and conclude, with Smullyan, that the argument turns on an illegitimate technical move that is intimately connected to the aforementioned misunderstanding about descriptions and substitutivity. I then defend Smullyan from objections raised by Quine and others before turning briefly to attitude contexts. Finally, the Theory of Descriptions is extended to cover descriptions of events and used to examine certain claims about event identity.

The Theory of Descriptions is, then, of interest not only to the project of constructing a semantical theory for natural language but also as a useful tool with which to investigate the logical structures of certain philosophical claims. " Underlying each of Strawson's objections is the belief that descriptions are genuine referring expressions and that to insist otherwise is just to misunderstand the function of singular noun phrases in communication. Now it is surely not open to dispute that a sentence of the form 'the F is G' may be used to communicate an object-dependent thought to someone to the effect that some particular individual b is G.

See Whitehead and Russell (1927), p. 66. 4. This particular way of thinking about the distinction between definite descriptions and genuine referring expressions is clearly articulated in the works of Gareth Evans and John McDowell. See, in particular, Evans (1982), chaps. 2 and 9, and McDowell (1986). See also Blackburn (1984). 5. Russell (1905), p. 41. The word 'denote' has been used by philosophers, linguists, and logicians to express a variety of relations that hold between linguistic and nonlinguistic objects.

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