more from David Bostock

Single Idea 13816

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

Full Idea

Because of the scope problem, it now seems better to 'parse' definition descriptions not as names but as quantifiers. 'The' is to be treated in the same category as acknowledged quantifiers like 'all' and 'some'. We write Ix - 'for the x such that..'.

Gist of Idea

Because of scope problems, definite descriptions are best treated as quantifiers


David Bostock (Intermediate Logic [1997], 8.3)

Book Reference

Bostock,David: 'Intermediate Logic' [OUP 1997], p.344

A Reaction

This seems intuitively rather good, since quantification in normal speech is much more sophisticated than the crude quantification of classical logic. But the fact is that they often function as names (but see Idea 13817).

Related Idea

Idea 13815 Names do not have scope problems (e.g. in placing negation), but Russell's account does have that problem [Bostock]