Philosophy 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

Bertrand Russell on Descriptions - Dictionary of Arguments

Cresswell I 117
Descriptions/Russell: are never names - Other authors VsRussell: Descriptions are names, but not of normal objects but of intensional objects (various objects in different worlds). - CresswellVs intentional objects.
- - -
Geach I 61
Description/Russell is never a name: E.g. The Duke of Cambridge is also a pub, but the Duke does not sell beer.
- - -
Newen/Schrenk I 90
Theory of Descriptions/Russell: E.g. 1. There is at least one author of "Waverley" (existence assertion) - 2. There is at most one author of "Waverley" (uniqueness assertion)
- 3. Whoever wrote "Waverley", was a Scott (statement content) - E.g. The current King of France/empty names: At least one king of France is bald - 2. At most one - 3. whoever ... is bald - E.g. identity: at least one denounced Catiline - 2. At most one ... - 1* at least one wrote "De Oratore" - 2* at most one ... - 3. Whoever denounced Catiline, wrote ... - E.g. negative existence sentences "It is not the case that 1. At least one .. - 2. At most one ... - RussellVsFrege: thus one avoids to accept Fregean sense as an abstract entity.
Truth-value gaps/RussellVsFrege: they too are thus avoided.
I 92
N.B.: sentences that seemed to be about a subject, are now about general propositions about the world.
- - -
Russell I VIII
E.g. Waverley - all true sentences have the same meaning - e.g. "Author of Waverley." Is no description of Scott - Description (labeling) is not the same as assertion - this does not refer to an object. - StrawsonVs - A sentence with "Waverley" says nothing about Scott, because it does not contain Scott.
I 46
Descriptions/Russell: are always in the singular E.g. "father of" but not "son of" (not clear - always presuppoes quotes without "the": "jx": "x is φ" - instead of (ix)(jx) in short "R'y": the R of y, "the father of y" - characterizing function, not propositional function all mathematical functions are distinctive features.
I 96
Description/Principia Mathematica/Russell: "The author of Waverley" means nothing - we cannot
define (ix)(jx) only its use - (> definition, definability).
- - -
Flor III 122
Descriptions/Russell/Flor: are not names - reason: otherwise it would result in a mere triviality: "a = a" or something wrong. E.g. "The Snow man does not exist" is something different than to say, "Paul does not exist" - Descriptions: incomplete symbols - ((s) If description were names, they could not fail.)

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.

Russell I
B. Russell/A.N. Whitehead
Principia Mathematica Frankfurt 1986

Russell II
B. Russell
The ABC of Relativity, London 1958, 1969
German Edition:
Das ABC der Relativitätstheorie Frankfurt 1989

Russell IV
B. Russell
The Problems of Philosophy, Oxford 1912
German Edition:
Probleme der Philosophie Frankfurt 1967

Russell VI
B. Russell
"The Philosophy of Logical Atomism", in: B. Russell, Logic and KNowledge, ed. R. Ch. Marsh, London 1956, pp. 200-202
German Edition:
Die Philosophie des logischen Atomismus
Eigennamen, U. Wolf (Hg), Frankfurt 1993

Russell VII
B. Russell
On the Nature of Truth and Falsehood, in: B. Russell, The Problems of Philosophy, Oxford 1912 - Dt. "Wahrheit und Falschheit"
Wahrheitstheorien, G. Skirbekk (Hg), Frankfurt 1996

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

M. J. Cresswell
Structured Meanings Cambridge Mass. 1984

Gea I
P.T. Geach
Logic Matters Oxford 1972

Flor I
Jan Riis Flor
"Gilbert Ryle: Bewusstseinsphilosophie"
Philosophie im 20. Jahrhundert, A. Hügli/P. Lübcke, Reinbek 1993

Flor II
Jan Riis Flor
"Karl Raimund Popper: Kritischer Rationalismus"
Philosophie im 20. Jahrhundert, A.Hügli/P.Lübcke, Reinbek 1993

Flor III
J.R. Flor
"Bertrand Russell: Politisches Engagement und logische Analyse"
Philosophie im 20. Jahrhundert, A. Hügli/P.Lübcke (Hg), Reinbek 1993

Flor IV
Jan Riis Flor
"Thomas S. Kuhn. Entwicklung durch Revolution"
Philosophie im 20. Jahrhundert, A. Hügli/P. Lübcke, Reinbek 1993

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2022-01-28
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