Title

Definite descriptions and semantic pluralism

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-4-2014

Abstract

We pose two arguments for the view that sentences containing definite descriptions semantically express multiple propositions: a general proposition as Russell suggested, and a singular proposition featuring the individual who uniquely satisfies the description at the world-time of utterance. One argument mirrors David Kaplan's arguments that indexicals express singular propositions through a context-sensitive character. The second argument mirrors Kent Bach's and Stephen Neale's arguments for pluralist views about terms putatively triggering conventional implicatures, appositive, and nonrestrictive relative clauses. After presenting these arguments, we show that rival explanations (appeals to implicature, referential use, presupposition, etc.) do not offer equally compelling explanations of the data, and defend the methodology employed in the arguments against some criticisms. © 2014 © 2014 The Editorial Board, Philosophical Papers.

Publication Name

Philosophical Papers

Volume Number

43

First Page

255

Last Page

284

Issue Number

2

DOI

10.1080/05568641.2014.932959

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