Philosophy of Language Essay 3 Pages MLA FORMAT Use in Line citations (Must know how to do this)Must include a works cited page. For the handouts I am going to provide you can cite as handout with the date that is in the top right corner if you use the handout as a source. Otherwise, just use the handouts for guidance. No outside sources. Essay prompt:Are definite descriptions referring expressions? We have read Strawson responding to Russell’s negative answer, and Donnellan responding to Strawson (and Russell). 184
SUBJECTS, PREDICATES, EXISTENCE
the other way, one has to destroy the singular statements by
obliterating individual mention of individual Straws. So the
enterprise of making the statements equivalent is hopeless.
the interest of the suggestion lies in the fact that, because of the
pull of the unadmitted real resemblance between 8 1 and 83, the
real differences are denied. The differences are that S3 does,
and S1 and S 2 do not, explicitly speak of the tot~Hty of a ~ol
lection; that 8 3 does not, and S1 and 8 2 do, exphc1tly mention
particular individuals. One sees aright when one sees that
both statements that do, and statements that do not, explicitly
speak of particular individuals may be subject-predicate sta~e
ments, ·and neither assert nor deny, but presuppose, the existence of things referred tO by, e.g., the grammatical subjects of
sentences used to make them. Compare the case of a statement
which unexplicitly speaks of a particular individual; viz., a
statement made in the words “One (at least one) of the Straws
is happy ‘ (84). A parallel manreuvre is to declare this sentence
to be equivalent to a disjunction of singular sentenc~s the ~se
of which would involve explicitly mentioning particular inM
dividuals : ‘Jack Straw is happy or Mary Straw is happy ?’
. . . ‘ and so on. And this manreuvre fails too, for the cntatlment holds only in one direction. 8 4 resembles 8 1 and S2 in
being a subject-predicate sentence and differs from them in not
being used to speak explicitly of a particular individual. . It
is a mistake either to exaggerate -the resemblance by decl~~1ng
it to be equivalent to a sentence which is used to speak exphc1tly
of particular individuals; or to exaggerate and distort the
difference by declaring it to be an existential sentence.
10. I have described how the logical character of sentences
whose use to make statements presupposes the existence of
somethin(J’ referred to by their grammatical subjects can go unnoticed·b~cause (or partly because) of the operation of th~ bogus
trichotomy ‘ true, false, or meaningless ‘; and how this error
operates in the realm of ge.neral statem.ents. As the last para~
graph .suggests, this error does not operate in that realm alone;
~ut by invading that of singular statements as .well, tends. to
limit still further the class of referring expressions or logical
A classical illustration of this is provided by Russell’.s ‘ Theory
SUBJECTS AND PREDICATES
of Definite Descriptions’. According to this theory, the form
of the sentence ‘ The: King of France is wise ‘ is revealed by
writing it as an explicitly existential sentence, viz., ‘(3.v) [.v is
King of France. (y)(y is King of France ::> x = y). x is wise]’;
i.e., ‘ There is a person of whom it is true that he and that no
one else is King of France and that he is wise ‘. It is argued
t.hat this analysis provi
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