Research Article

Linguistics and Philosophy

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 1-10

The existence entailments of definite descriptions

  • Paul ElbourneAffiliated withDepartment of Linguistics, Queen Mary, University of London Email author 

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Contrary to a claim made by Kaplan (Mind 114:933–1003, 2005) and Neale (Mind 114:809–871, 2005), the readings available to sentences containing definite descriptions embedded under propositional attitude verbs and conditionals do pose a significant problem for the Russellian theory of definite descriptions. The Fregean theory of descriptions, on the other hand, deals easily with the relevant data.


Definite descriptions Propositional attitudes Conditionals Presupposition