Download PDF by Stephen Neale: Descriptions

By Stephen Neale

ISBN-10: 0262640317

ISBN-13: 9780262640312

In 1905, Bertrand Russell argued that yes logical puzzles are solved if certain descriptions are handled as quantified expressions instead of referential expression, as Frege had idea. given that then, philosophers and, extra lately, linguists have debated the relevance of this paradigm to the research of the semantics of typical language. In Descriptions, Stephen Neale presents the 1st sustained protection and extension of Russell's conception, putting it within the heart of a concept of singular and nonsingular descriptive words and anaphoric pronouns.Stephen Neale is Assistant Professor of Philosophy on the collage of California, Berkeley.

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This was something that Frege saw, and he invented a theoryquantification theorythat enabled him to treat these grammatically subject-predicate sentences as having no logical subjects. In effect, Frege's quantificational analyses of such sentences was the inauguration of the modern tradition of distinguishing between grammatical and logical form. Frege handed us an intuitive, semantically significant distinction between two classes of noun phrases: the class of singular referring expressions and the class of quantifiers.

Let's call this the pragmatic account of referential usage. One of my aims in this essay is to defend the Theory of Descriptions as a genuine contribution to the semantics of natural language. This will involve deflecting several distinct arguments against the unitary Russellian analysis that have gained some currency over the years. In my opinion, none of these arguments has any real force; indeed, I shall attempt to show that each involves substantial confusion and outright error. I shall also attempt to undercut the ambiguity theory by presenting a clear and explicit statement of the pragmatic account of referential usage and explaining its advantages and strengths.

See especially Grice (1967) and Searle (1975). 9. The general form of the Gricean response to a potential referential challenge seems to have been anticipated by Hampshire (1959, pp. 2014) and by Geach (1962, p. 8). 10. See Kripke (1977), Searle (1979), Klein (1980), and Davies (1981). This general approach is also endorsed by Wiggins (1975), Castañeda (1977), Sainsbury (1979), Evans (1982), Salmon (1982), Blackburn (1984), Davidson (1986), and Soames (1986). 11. I had originally planned to include an appendix on the prospects of unifying the account of (i)-(vi) with an account of the interpretation of mass noun descriptions (like 'the water') and so-called "collective" interpretations of plural descriptions (as in 'the men pushed the VW up the hill'), an idea first presented by Sharvy (1980).

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