Definite Descriptions by Paul Elbourne

By Paul Elbourne

This e-book argues that yes descriptions ('the table', 'the King of France') check with contributors, as Gottlob Frege claimed. This it appears basic end flies within the face of philosophical orthodoxy, which contains Bertrand Russell's concept that certain descriptions are units of quantification. Paul Elbourne provides the 1st fully-argued defence of the Fregean view. He builds an specific fragment of English utilizing a model of scenario semantics. He makes use of intrinsic facets of his procedure to account for the presupposition projection behaviour of sure descriptions, a variety of modal houses, and the matter of incompleteness. while, he attracts on an strangely wide variety of linguistic and philosophical literature, from early paintings by means of Frege, Peano, and Russell to the most recent findings in linguistics, philosophy of language, and psycholinguistics. His penultimate bankruptcy addresses the semantics of pronouns and gives a brand new and extra radical model of his past thesis that they too are Fregean convinced descriptions.

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It might be advisable, however, for the sake of uniformity, to replace the individual variables that feature in names in Elbourne 2005b with situation variables, thus assimilating names to the model of definite descriptions defended in the current work. 9 The convention of having a domain condition after a colon and before a full stop is not just from Heim and Kratzer 1998 but is actually quite widespread in mathematical work on Î-calculus: see Hindley and Seldin 2008: 181. 7 22 situation semantics that argument.

For example, in the case of (11) we might imagine that the sentence is interpreted with respect to a variable assignment g that maps 1 to a situation consisting of Llanabba Castle at a certain time t. The claim made by an utterance of (11) will then be that every boy in Llanabba Castle at t swims. As I mentioned, these variables can also be bound: three operators, ς i , i and Ûi , are provided for this purpose. The semantics of these operators is given below, and examples of their use can be found in Chapters 6 and 7.

By means of the special stipulation that divergent infinite series shall stand for the number 0. A logically perfect language (Begriffsschrift) should satisfy the conditions, that every expression grammatically well constructed as a proper name out of signs already introduced shall in fact designate an object, and that no new sign shall be introduced as a proper name without being secured a reference. Given this context, it is unlikely that we should take the suggestion in the footnote about improper 4 descriptions denoting 0 to be a serious semantic analysis of natural language; it seems more like a special stipulation for the practice of mathematics, designed to prevent mathematical terms from being without referents.

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