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Definite Descriptions

Paul Elbourne


This book argues that definite descriptions refer to or range overindividuals, as claimed by Frege and Strawson. Working within asituation semantics framework, Elbourne maintains that definitedescriptions combine with a situation variable in the syntax; at thesemantic level, the whole expression is of type e and contains a locallyfree situation variable that can be either referential or bound by somehigher operator. The resulting theory is tested against a wide range ofdata from the literature, including problems related to the following:presupposition projection; the referential/attributive d ... More

Keywords: definite descriptions, situation semantics, presupposition,referential/attributive, anaphora, incompleteness, Frege, Russell, Strawson, pronouns

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199660193
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199660193.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Paul Elbourne, author
Reader in Semantics at Queen Mary, University of London