Philosophy Dictionary of ArgumentsHome
|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._____________Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments. |
Saul A. Kripke on Descriptions - Dictionary of Arguments
I 78 ff
You could say "The Jonah of the book never existed", as one might say "the Hitler of Nazi propaganda never existed." Existence is independent of representation.
>Existence/Kripke, >Description dependence/Kripke, >Presentation.
Reference by description:
E.g. "Jack the Ripper"
E.g. "Neptune" was named as such before anyone had seen him. The reference was determined because of the description of its place. At this point they were not able to see the planet. Counter-example: "Volcano".
It might also turn out that the description does not apply to the object although the reference of the name was specified with the description. E.g. the reference of "Venus" as the "morning star", which later turns out not to be a fixed star at all. In such cases, you know in no sense a priori that the description that has defined the reference applies to the object.
Description does not shorten the name. E.g. even if the murdered Schmidt discovered the famous sentence, Goedel would still refer to Goedel.
Description determines a reference, it does not provide synonymy. "Standard meter" is not synonymous with the length - description provides contingent identity: inventor = post master.
Cf. >Standard meter.
Identity: through the use of descriptions contingent identity statements can be made.
QuineVsMarcus ("mere tag") is not a necessary identity of proper names, but an empirical discovery - (Cicero = Tully) identity does not necessarily follow from description - the identity of Gaurisankar is also an empirical discovery.
Description/names/Kripke: the description serves only to determine the reference, not to identify the object (for counterfactual situations), nor to determine the meaning.
Description is fulfilled: only one sole object fulfils the description, e.g. "The man drinking champagne is angry" (but he drinks water).
Apparent description: e.g. the Holy Roman Empire (was neither holy nor Roman) - it is a hidden proper name.
Description/substitutional quantification: L must not occur in the substitution class: necessary and sufficient conditions to ensure that each sentence of the referential language retains its truth value is that whenever (Exi)f is true (when only xi is free), a substitution class f" of f will be be true (> condition (6)) - this does not work with certain L, even if (6) is fulfilled.
Theory of Descriptions/Russell: y(ixf(x)) where f(x) is atomic, analyzed as follows:
(Ey)(x)(y = x ↔ f(x)) ∧ y(y)) (Wessel: exactly one": (Ex)(P(x) ∧ (y)(P(y) > x = y)) "There is not more than one thing": (x)(y)(x = y) - is ambiguous, if there is more than one description: order of elimination.
>Reference/Kripke, >Meaning/Kripke, cf. >necessary a posteriori._____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Naming and Necessity, Dordrecht/Boston 1972
Name und Notwendigkeit Frankfurt 1981
Saul A. Kripke
"Speaker’s Reference and Semantic Reference", in: Midwest Studies in Philosophy 2 (1977) 255-276
Eigennamen, Ursula Wolf, Frankfurt/M. 1993
Saul A. Kripke
Is there a problem with substitutional quantification?
Truth and Meaning, G. Evans/J McDowell, Oxford 1976
S. A. Kripke
Outline of a Theory of Truth (1975)
Recent Essays on Truth and the Liar Paradox, R. L. Martin (Hg), Oxford/NY 1984
Authors A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z