Article

Descriptions

Berit Brogaard

in Philosophy

ISBN: 9780195396577
Published online May 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0032
Descriptions

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Descriptions are commonly thought to be phrases of the form “an F,” “the F,” “F’s,” “the F’s,” and NP’s “F” (e.g., “John’s mother”). They can be indefinite (e.g., “an F” and “F’s”), definite (e.g., “the F” and “the F’s”), singular (e.g., “an F” and “the F”), or plural (e.g., “the F’s” and “F’s”). In English plural, indefinite descriptions lack an article and are for that reason also known as “bare plurals.” How to account for the semantics and pragmatics of descriptions has been one of the central topics in philosophy for centuries. This entry focuses on the historical and contemporary philosophical debate about Bertrand Russell’s theory of descriptions and the theories that developed as responses to this theory.

Article.  6918 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; Epistemology ; Feminist Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Moral Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language ; Philosophy of Law ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Religion ; Philosophy of Science ; Social and Political Philosophy

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