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Processing descriptions


Discourse representation theory
Dynamic interpretation
Theory of descriptions.

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VAN DER SANDT, Rob. Processing descriptions. Manuscrito: Revista Internacional de Filosofia, Campinas, SP, v. 29, n. 2, p. 399–436, 2016. Disponível em: Acesso em: 23 maio. 2024.


The first part of this paper discusses the relative merits of Russell’s and Strawson’s view on the proper treatment of descriptive phrases. I argue that Russell’s account is in principle correct, but is incomplete as it stands. The theory should be extended with an account of the intuition that gave rise to Strawson’s (and Frege’s) alternative in the first place. In the second part of this paper I present such an account in the ‘presupposition as anaphora’ framework. I show that if we treat Russellian descriptions as anaphoric expressions and when we implement such an account in a dynamic framework distinguishing between input and output contexts, his basic claim, definites should not be analysed as referring but as descriptive phrases, can be maintained while simultaneously accounting for the Frege/Strawson intuition.



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