Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Description theory: the thesis according to which the meaning of expressions corresponds to the description of the respective objects.

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 313f
Description theory/Names: ~ "x is the only phi-ist, and everything elsethat phi-es is identical with x" - EvansVs: the situation for propositional attitudes is falsely portrayed as equal to the situation in which the object does not exist.
I 313
Reference/Meaning/Generic Term/EvansVsDescription Theory: we are constantly using generic terms of whose fulfillment of conditions we have only the darkest ideas. E.g. chlorine, microbiology, etc. However, it is wrong to say that we do not say anything when we utter sentences that this generic term
I 315
Name/Causal Theory/Kripke/Evans: Kripke’s causal theory looks something like this: the chain of causality only retains the reference if the speaker intends to use the name for the same thing for which it was used by the person from whom he has learned the name. Evans: Question: Is it sufficient that such use is a so described causal consequence? E.g. (Evans) a group of people talk in the bar about a certain Louis, of whom S has never heard. He asks "What has Louis done?" It’s clear that he refers to a certain man with that!.
I 316
He might even continue to refer to him on a later occasion. VsDescription Theory: This is difficult to reconcile with it, because the chunk of information that S overheard could include any attitude and could match someone else much better. She has no explanation for why it is impossible that other descriptions outweigh this one. VsCausal Theory: It can probably ensure the right answer in this case. But it cannot rule out that S denotes a certain Frenchman - maybe Louis XIII - at any time in the future, as alien to the subject matter and as confused the speaker may seem, as long as there is a causal link to that conversation in the bar.
I 321
EvansVsDescription Theory: If we thought at the same time that the name refers to the person who was killed by Elhannan, then it shows that the conditions of the description theory are not necessary and not sufficient.
I 321/322
EvansVsKripke: this is the view for which Kripke should have argued, but did not argue.
EvansVsDescription Theory: does not distinguish between the notions: a) that the described thing is determined by the intention of the speaker, and b) that the object fulfils the descriptions. EvansVsDescription Theory: point b) is the weakness: the "fitting in with" is absurd if, in the case of a speaker who is isolated from his community, it only fits this thing better than anything else because of a bunch of descriptions which the speaker associates.

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.

G. Evans/J. McDowell
Truth and Meaning Oxford 1977

Evans I
Gareth Evans
"The Causal Theory of Names", in: Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Suppl. Vol. 47 (1973) 187-208
Eigennamen, Ursula Wolf, Frankfurt/M. 1993

Evans II
Gareth Evans
"Semantic Structure and Logical Form"
Truth and Meaning, G. Evans/J. McDowell, Oxford 1976

Evans III
G. Evans
The Varieties of Reference (Clarendon Paperbacks) Oxford 1989

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2020-08-13
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