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Definite Descriptions - Oxford Studies in Semantics and Pragmatics (Hardback)
  • Definite Descriptions - Oxford Studies in Semantics and Pragmatics (Hardback)
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Definite Descriptions - Oxford Studies in Semantics and Pragmatics (Hardback)

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£79.00
Hardback 262 Pages / Published: 27/06/2013
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This book argues that definite descriptions ('the table', 'the King of France') refer to individuals, as Gottlob Frege claimed. This apparently simple conclusion flies in the face of philosophical orthodoxy, which incorporates Bertrand Russell's theory that definite descriptions are devices of quantification. Paul Elbourne presents the first fully-argued defence of the Fregean view. He builds an explicit fragment of English using a version of situation semantics. He uses intrinsic aspects of his system to account for the presupposition projection behaviour of definite descriptions, a range of modal properties, and the problem of incompleteness. At the same time, he draws on an unusually wide range of linguistic and philosophical literature, from early work by Frege, Peano, and Russell to the latest findings in linguistics, philosophy of language, and psycholinguistics. His penultimate chapter addresses the semantics of pronouns and offers a new and more radical version of his earlier thesis that they too are Fregean definite descriptions.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199660193
Number of pages: 262
Weight: 640 g
Dimensions: 248 x 192 x 23 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
... this book is an important contribution to the literature on definite descriptions, and sets a new standard for the discussion on this topic ... there is much to be learned from this work. * Elizabeth Coppock, Nordic Journal of Linguistics *
Definite Descriptions is a master class in philosophical argument and empirical inquiry, covering an impressive number of relevant topics supported by convincing arguments. His engaging monograph is the first in the Oxford Studies in Semantics and Pragmatics series, and if these titles aim to explore new domains in linguistics and philosophy in a careful and original way, Elbournes thought-provoking study proves itself more than worthy of being first out of the gates. * Elliot Murphy, The Linguistic Review *

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