Demonstratives, definite descriptions and non-redundancy

Journal article

Blumberg, Kyle Hammet 2020. Demonstratives, definite descriptions and non-redundancy. Philosophical Studies. 177 (1), pp. 39 - 64.
AuthorsBlumberg, Kyle Hammet

In some sentences, demonstratives can be substituted with definite descriptions without any change in meaning. In light of this, some have maintained that demonstratives are just a type of definite description. However, several theorists have drawn attention to a range of cases where definite descriptions are acceptable, but their demonstrative counterparts are not. Some have tried to account for this data by appealing to presupposition. I argue that such presuppositional approaches are problematic, and present a pragmatic account of the target contrasts. On this approach, demonstratives take two arguments and generally require that the first, covert argument is non-redundant with respect to the second, overt argument. I derive this condition through an economy principle discussed by Schlenker (in: Maier, Bary, Huitink (eds) Proceedings of Sub9, 2005).

Keywordsdemonstratives; definite descriptions; presupposition; minimize restrictors
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Journal citation177 (1), pp. 39 - 64
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85055755607
Page range39 - 64
Research GroupDianoia Institute of Philosophy
Place of publicationNetherlands
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