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Extra resources for Descriptions

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In this section, I shall just be concerned with its original statement as presented in * 14 of Principia Mathematica . 3 1 But from a semantical perspective, an important difference has emerged : The Theory of Descriptions 29 sentences with referring expressions as grammatical subjects express object-dependent propositions; sentences with descriptions as gram­ matical subjects express object-independent propositions. Qua denoting phrase, a description has no 'meaning' in and of itself in the sense that there is no entity for which it stands, upon which the identity of the proposition expressed depends.

Relativized descriptions will play an important role when we look at anaphora on descriptions in Chapters 5 and 6 . ) Again, i t i s simply unclear how Strawson' s theory i s supposed t o deal with such examples. As for the question whether all phrases of the form 'the so-and-so' are definite descriptions, G. E. Moore ( 1 944) points out that such phrases are often used in ways that, at least on the surface, appear to resist analysis in terms of the Theory of Descriptions. Russell has given "a true, and most important, account" of perhaps "far the com­ monest" use of "the in the singular" says Moore (p.

The meaning of an expression is simply that entity for which it stands . In the case of an utterance of a sentence if> this entity is a proposition . In the case of an utterance of a genuine referring expression, it is the expression's referen t . An utterance of a sentence 'b is G', where 'b' is a referring expression and '- is G' is a monadic predicate phrase, expresses an objec t-depen d e n t (or singular) proposition, the identity of which is dependent upon the identity of b . 1 And this proposition is true if and only if b is G.

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