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

Jaakko Hintikka on Descriptions - Dictionary of Arguments

II 172
Description/knowledge/Russell/Hintikka: knowledge by description: here, we know propositions about the "so-and-so" without knowing who or what the "so-and-so" is.
>Propositional knowledge
, >Knowlege how, >Knowledge.
Ad (ii): e.g. description: instead of Bismarck: "the first chancellor of the German Reich".
HintikkaVs (ii) this sweeps the problem under the carpet.
Problem: the use of descriptions must ultimately lead to the fact that the descriptions are translated back into names, and this is not possible here!

Reduction/description/names/Hintikka: not all individuals with descriptions we talk about have identities that are known to everyone. The interpretation of Russell does not rule out the fact that many different entities act as legitimate values of the variables, which in principle can also be named with names.

Ad (iii) Russell/Hintikka: that was Russell's implicit solution: he redefines the range of the individual variables so that they are restricted to individuals we know by acquaintance.
Existential Generalization/EG/Russell/Hintikka: the existential generalization applies only to names of individuals with whom we are familiar.

Concealed Description/Russell/Hintikka: the existential generalization fails for individuals whose names have to be conceived as covert descriptions ((s) because we know them only by description).
Cf. >Acquaintance.

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.

Hintikka I
Jaakko Hintikka
Merrill B. Hintikka
Investigating Wittgenstein
German Edition:
Untersuchungen zu Wittgenstein Frankfurt 1996

Hintikka II
Jaakko Hintikka
Merrill B. Hintikka
The Logic of Epistemology and the Epistemology of Logic Dordrecht 1989

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