Descriptions, Chapters 2-3

Descriptions, Chapters 2-3 - Chapter 2 The Theory of...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Chapter 2 The Theory of Descriptions 2.1 Introductory Remarks It is virtually impossible to do justice to the seman tical and logical insights of Russell 's Theory of Descriptions without a proper grasp of its philosophical foundations; this requires a sensitivity to, an awareness of Russell's sensitivity to, issues that are at least as much psychological as they are semantical (or logical). Of course any final evaluation of theory , construed as a contribution to sem- antics logic will depend upon its predictive power in face of problems concerning identity , substitutivity, propositional attitude reports, logical (and other) modalities, nondenoting noun phrases, quantifier scope, pronominal anaphora, so on . But semantical cannot be addressed in a vacuum. There is important respect in which semantical questions be detached from about understanding; this is something Russell saw , nowhere is it more in evidence than in his distinction between names descriptions. Indeed, if one ignores his of thought, runs very grave risk of failing to understand appreciate his Theory of Descriptions. I have three main aims in this chapter. The first is to layout philosophical psychological underpinnings . The second is to locate tical side of within a general account of quantified phrases in natural language . The third is to explore extend range application of theory. Although initial discussion will, of necessity, a definite exegetical character, I shall not shy away from rejecting what I perceive to be inessential features of Russell's overall pro- posal. For example, his sense-datum epistemology his consequent desire to treat ordinary names as disguised descriptions, his talk of objects as constituents of singular propositions, his use of formalism of Principia Math ematica, even if they are objec- tionable in themselves, seem to me to be features can be dis-
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
The Theory of Descriptions 15 pensed with without compromising either the general appeal of Theory of Descriptions or the distinction between object-dependent and object-independent propositions that lies behind it. After discussion of philosophical foundations of theory (2.2), I turn to its formal statement (2.3) a preliminary appraisal of its value when applied to sentenc es of natural language (2.4). A of quantification in (2.5) then gives us a syntactical semantical framework within which to locate the Theory of Descriptions, extend it to nonsingular more complex descriptions, dispense formalism of Principia Mathematica (2.6). The chapter ends a brief discussion of what one need not be committed to endorses Theory of Descriptions (2.7). 2.2 Philosophical Foundations Let us take as a point of departure idea a particular dated utterance u of a sentence </J by a speaker S expresses a proposition.
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 03/01/2008 for the course PHL 332 taught by Professor Dever during the Fall '07 term at University of Texas at Austin.

Page1 / 104

Descriptions, Chapters 2-3 - Chapter 2 The Theory of...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online