Having in Mind

Howard Wettstein

in Having in Mind

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199844845
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933501 | DOI:
Having in Mind

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In “Reference and Definite Descriptions,” Donnellan deepened Strawson’s classic critique of Russell’s theory of descriptions. For Russell, definite descriptions involve generality and quantification; one is speaking in the general way that quantifiers facilitate. By contrast, Strawson insisted that there was singularity here; descriptions characteristically function as singular terms referring to individuals. Donnellan endorsed and developed the singularity idea, but additionally made room for another kind of use of definite descriptions, an “attributive use,” something closer to what Russell mistakenly thought was their only use. This chapter argues that there is a Russellian strain in Donnellan’s thinking about reference. Reference and the reference-involving de re attitudes require an appropriately strong cognitive connection to the referent. Mere conceptual satisfaction, à la Frege, is not sufficient.

Keywords: Keith Donnellan; Reference and Definite Descriptions; attributive use; referential use; Russell

Chapter.  6106 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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