Psychology 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 Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Maxwell J. Cresswell on Descriptions - Dictionary of Arguments

I 184
Description/Quantification/Cresswell: definite and indefinite descriptions are not quantifiers - the bond is in the depth structure.
>Quantifiers, Deep 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.
II 47f
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.
>Scope, >Modal operator, >Names, >Morning star/Evening star, >Theory of descriptions/Russell.
II 48
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).
II 140
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).
>Narrow/wide, >Exactly one, >Necessity, >Contingency.
II 149
Theory of descriptions/Russell/Kripke/Cresswell: Kripke per Russell with regard to descriptions - not only with regard to names.
>Descriptions/Kripke, >Names/Kripke.

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.

Cr I
M. J. Cresswell
Semantical Essays (Possible worlds and their rivals) Dordrecht Boston 1988

M. J. Cresswell
Structured Meanings Cambridge Mass. 1984

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