Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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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.

Author Item Summary Meta data
I 175
Description/Millikan: we are here to find out what the stabilization function of definite and indefinite descriptions is.
We have to go on our own. We cannot rely on the tradition of Russell-Trawson-Donnellan.
Reference/MillikanVsStrawson: we must assume that it is not just speakers who are referring, but we must assume that the linguistic expressions themselves also refer.
I 176
Indefinite description/real value/Millikan: The real value is determined by the rest of the sentence, not by the indefinite description itself.
I 177
Reference: is something different than an image!
Indefinite description: maps, but without referring!
Inner name: it is not the task of an indefinite desription to be translated into an inner name. Their normal eigenfunction is to be translated into an inner description, which still contains a general expression.
I 178
Indefinite descripion: an indefinite description as a whole, is not a referential term.
Tradition: has assumed however e.g. "an Indian friend of mine gave me this". Here I think of Rakesh.
MillikanVsTradition: this leads to confusion. I leave the referent open on purpose.
Reference: it is certainly true that I intended Rakesh, so I will also refer to him.
N.B.: if Rakesh asks me later: "Did you tell them about me?" The correct answer is "No!".
Eigenfunction/Descripion/Millikan: the eigenunction is not here to be translated into an inner name for Rakesh.
On the other hand:
Natural sign: is causally dependent. And the identification was finally caused by Rakesh, who gave me the book.
I 179
Causality/Description/real value/Millikan: The causal connection of an intentional icon with its real value makes it possible for the listener to use it as a natural sign.
N.B.: thus a new inner name can be coined. ((s) Not an already existing inner name).
Definition "natural referent"/indefinite description/Terminology/Millikan: any indefinite description has a real value in accordance with a normal explanation, the "natural referents". This also applies to stories (fiction). But this is not a public reference. Here, causality and mapping rules do not matter.
Public referent/Millikan: a definite description or name can have (by chance) a public referent, without having a natural referent. Therefore an indefinite description can have a natural one without having a public one.
I 181
Real value/definite descripion/Millikan: the real value of a definite description is determined by the rest of the sentence. E.g.: Which of my friends was it? The one who gave me the book.
I 185
Description/Millikan. E.g. "my brother" is neither definite nor indefinite. I can use the description if I have one or more brothers.

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.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Millikan I
R. G. Millikan
Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories: New Foundations for Realism Cambridge 1987

Millikan II
Ruth Millikan
"Varieties of Purposive Behavior", in: Anthropomorphism, Anecdotes, and Animals, R. W. Mitchell, N. S. Thomspon and H. L. Miles (Eds.) Albany 1997, pp. 189-1967
Der Geist der Tiere, D Perler/M. Wild, Frankfurt/M. 2005

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-08-21
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