The purpose of this paper is to present a theory of referential uses of def- inite descriptions that is alternative to Neale’s theory of Go ̈delian completions but nonetheless assumes two tenets of Neale’s view: (i) the Russellian analysis of def- inite descriptions is basically correct, i.e. definite descriptions are quantified NPs and (ii) referential uses are not to be explained in terms of the Gricean distinction between what is said and what is meant (Here I draw on Neale Descriptions and Beyond, 68–182, (2004). The proposition said is the intuitive content of an asser- tion as opposed to contents that are conversational implicatures. The compositional system computes the proposition said taking into account the semantic information encoded in a sentence and all relevant contextual information. The proposition said is the input for processing the proposition meant as the result of Gricean conversational implicatures. The computation of the proposition said involves linguistic decoding as well as pragmatic inferences. Notice that Neale Philosophical Perspectives, 22, 375–442, (2008) uses ‘implied’ instead of ‘meant’). Neale’s Russellian approach to referential uses is assumed. I give no direct argument to prove that Neale’s approach is superior to a Gricean approach and no direct argument to prove that it is superior to an approach such as Devitt’s one that introduces a semantic ambiguity between ref- erential and attributive definite descriptions. Contrary to Neale’s theory of Go ̈delian completions, the theory I present preserves the uniqueness condition of the ortho- dox quantificational meaning of definite descriptions as a contribution to what is said on referential uses. I argue that from the orthodox Russellian point of view this is a remarkable advantage over Neale’s theory of Go ̈delian completions (I wish to thank two anonymous referees for helpful comments and suggestions).

Saving Uniqueness

VIGNOLO, MASSIMILIANO
2015

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to present a theory of referential uses of def- inite descriptions that is alternative to Neale’s theory of Go ̈delian completions but nonetheless assumes two tenets of Neale’s view: (i) the Russellian analysis of def- inite descriptions is basically correct, i.e. definite descriptions are quantified NPs and (ii) referential uses are not to be explained in terms of the Gricean distinction between what is said and what is meant (Here I draw on Neale Descriptions and Beyond, 68–182, (2004). The proposition said is the intuitive content of an asser- tion as opposed to contents that are conversational implicatures. The compositional system computes the proposition said taking into account the semantic information encoded in a sentence and all relevant contextual information. The proposition said is the input for processing the proposition meant as the result of Gricean conversational implicatures. The computation of the proposition said involves linguistic decoding as well as pragmatic inferences. Notice that Neale Philosophical Perspectives, 22, 375–442, (2008) uses ‘implied’ instead of ‘meant’). Neale’s Russellian approach to referential uses is assumed. I give no direct argument to prove that Neale’s approach is superior to a Gricean approach and no direct argument to prove that it is superior to an approach such as Devitt’s one that introduces a semantic ambiguity between ref- erential and attributive definite descriptions. Contrary to Neale’s theory of Go ̈delian completions, the theory I present preserves the uniqueness condition of the ortho- dox quantificational meaning of definite descriptions as a contribution to what is said on referential uses. I argue that from the orthodox Russellian point of view this is a remarkable advantage over Neale’s theory of Go ̈delian completions (I wish to thank two anonymous referees for helpful comments and suggestions).
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11567/826067
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