|Description: A. Characterization of singular objects or events instead of giving a name. As opposed to names descriptions are not rigid, i.e. they may refer to different objects in different worlds. - B. Linguistic form for attributing predicates according to the perceptions of objects. See also rigidity, theory of descriptions.|
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Description/Quantification/Cresswell: definite and indefinite descriptions are not quantifiers - the bond is in the depth structure - e.g. if you offer each boy a job, some boy will refuse it - "it" signals no variable bound by "a job", however quantification in depth.
Theory of descriptions/Russell/Cresswell: according to Russell e.g.
(24) BELIEVE (a, x) u x e . β . L)
is possible, because "The planet which is called "Phosphorus"" can occur outside the range of the modal operator.
N.B: this allows us to talk about the thing that is actually called "Phosphorus" and ask what happens when it is not called like this - ((s) out of reach of the modal operator: allows unambiguous reference to the thing).
Theory of descriptions/Russell/Cresswell: Thesis: a particular description is in the same syntactic category as a quantifier, e.g. "Someone" problem: E.g. "Someone does not come" does not mean the same as "It is not the case that someone comes" - Solution/Russell: different ranges in modal and doxastic contexts -
A) (narrow range) "the person next door lives next door" is logically equivalent with "exactly one person lives next door" and therefore it is in a sense necessarily true.
B) (wide range) it is true that the person next door could also have lived somewhere else (so it is contingent).
Theory of descriptions/Russell/Kripke/Cresswell: Kripke per Russell with regard to descriptions - not only with regard to names.
M. J. Cresswell
Semantical Essays (Possible worlds and their rivals) Dordrecht Boston 1988
M. J. Cresswell
Structured Meanings Cambridge Mass. 1984