Descriptions as restricted free variables

dc.contributor.advisorDever, Josh
dc.contributor.advisorKamp, Hans
dc.contributor.committeeMemberBuchanan, Lawrence R
dc.contributor.committeeMemberSainsbury, Richard M
dc.contributor.committeeMemberSantorio, Paolo
dc.contributor.committeeMemberSosa, Ernest D
dc.creatorWoolwine, Cassandra Joan
dc.creator.orcid0000-0002-3132-277X
dc.date.accessioned2021-06-12T04:18:50Z
dc.date.available2021-06-12T04:18:50Z
dc.date.created2020-08
dc.date.issued2020-08
dc.date.submittedAugust 2020
dc.date.updated2021-06-12T04:18:51Z
dc.description.abstractIn this dissertation, I provide a referential account of definite descriptions, situated in a static framework. According to that analysis, definite descriptions denote free variable complexes that carry assignment restrictions that are determined by their descriptive content. When all variables in the complex are provided referents through the intentions of the speaker, the proposition expressed by the utterance will be a singular proposition concerning the referent of the variable complex. I additionally provide an accompanying analysis of indefinites as restricted free object variables that may be bound by overt quantifiers or modals, or by a process of existential closure. In the first chapter, I provide some initial motivation for a referential view of definites and vii demonstrate that the variable complex view of definites is better equipped to handle embedded, externally bound variables than a view of definites as simple object variables. In the second chapter, I define a formal framework for my analysis of definites and indefinites, and demonstrate that understanding indefinite descriptions within this framework will provide a solution to a puzzle involving scope islands. In chapter 3, I show how this framework may be extended to provide de re and de dicto readings of definites in the scope of modal operators. I situate my discussion in a longstanding debate over the desired de dicto truth conditions in non-doxastic attitude reports involving definite and indefinite descriptions. I show that my view can achieve the correct readings for both indefinites and definites and that my treatment of indefinites is superior to that of standard Russellian, Dynamic or Fregean views. In the last chapter, I characterize the attributive/referential distinction in terms of features of their conveyed content, and show how both uses can be achieved on the above view of definites.
dc.description.departmentPhilosophy
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/2152/86464
dc.identifier.urihttp://dx.doi.org/10.26153/tsw/13415
dc.language.isoen
dc.subjectDescriptions
dc.subjectDefinite descriptions
dc.subjectIndefinite descriptions
dc.subjectDefinites
dc.subjectIndefinites
dc.titleDescriptions as restricted free variables
dc.typeThesis
dc.type.materialtext
thesis.degree.departmentPhilosophy
thesis.degree.disciplinePhilosophy
thesis.degree.grantorThe University of Texas at Austin
thesis.degree.levelDoctoral
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophy
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