Philosophy Colloquium
Yu Izumi
University of Maryland
Descriptions and Comparison Semantics of 'want'

One of the problems for Russell's quantificational analysis of definite descriptions is that it generates unattested readings in the context of non-doxastic attitude verbs such as want. The Fregean-Strawsonian presuppositional analysis is designed to overcome such shortcomings of Russell’s quantificational analysis while keeping its virtues. Anders J. Schoubye (forthcoming), however, criticizes the Fregean-Strawsonian solution to the problem of non-doxastic attitude verbs as being inadequate by generalizing the problem to indefinite descriptions. Schoubye claims that the generalized problem calls for a radical revision of the semantics of definite and indefinite descriptions, and he attempts to develop a dynamic semantic account of descriptions. In this paper I defend the standard non-dynamic semantics of descriptions by refuting Schoubye’s objections to the Fregean-Strawsonian analysis. I argue that, once we take into account Elizabeth Villalta's (2008) recent analysis of non-doxastic attitude verbs, we can solve Schoubye's generalized problem concerning descriptions.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013
4:00pm

Skinner 1115