Article/Publication Details

From Descriptions to Their Referents

(Original title: Od deskripcií k ich referentom)
Filozofia, 2013, vol. 68, No 10, pp. 825-848.
Language: Slovak
File to download: PDF*
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Abstract

The paper deals with the logical analysis of empirical descriptions from the perspective of temporal modal semantics. After general introductory remarks concerning the structure of descriptions and temporally conceived possible worlds, the author’s attention turns to the reference of descriptions and the properties ascribed to individuals by descriptions. Reference is an empirical relation between a description (ιx)Φ(x) and its referent relative to possible world w and time t. A description (ιx)Φ(x) refers to an object O in world w at time t (at world-time couple (w, t)) iff O has the property (λx)Φ(x) at (w, t). The core of the article is investigating non-standard descriptions containing the so-called closure. The purpose of closure is restricting the set of properties ascribed to an individual by description either to those that are explicitly ascribed or to those that are entailed by explicitly ascribed ones. It is argued that if a description (ιx)Φ(x) refers to an individual O at (w, t) then (ιx)(Φ(x) ∧0Cl(x)), where Cl(x) is a closure, cannot have a referent. It is suggested that the closure descriptions can be used in the analysis of Meinongian and fictitious objects.

Keywords

Closure descriptions, Empirical descriptions, Entailment of properties from a property, Explicitly and implicitly ascribed properties in descriptions, Possible worlds and world-time couples (w, Properties of physical individuals, Reference of a description at world-time couple, t)

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