more from Mark Sainsbury

Single Idea 10438

[catalogued under 5. Theory of Logic / F. Referring in Logic / 2. Descriptions / b. Definite descriptions]

Full Idea

Definite descriptions used with referential intentions (usually in subject position) are normally rigid, ..but in predicate position they are normally not rigid, because there is no referential intention.

Gist of Idea

Definite descriptions are usually rigid in subject, but not in predicate, position

Source

Mark Sainsbury (The Essence of Reference [2006], 18.5)

Book Reference

'The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language', ed/tr. Lepore,E/Smith,B [OUP 2008], p.419


A Reaction

'The man in the blue suit is the President' seems to fit, but 'The President is the head of state' doesn't. Seems roughly right, but language is always too complex for philosophers.