Approaches to Natural Language

  • Rod Bertolet
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 49)


There are various ways of studying human language. I want to contrast two such ways, and indicate which I shall adopt in what follows. Our point of departure will be some remarks which philosophers have made about semantics, but let me first offer a preliminary sketch of the two rather general ways in which we might conceive the study of natural language.


Natural Language Semantic Theory Definite Description Singular Proposition Semantic Referent 
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  1. 1.
    P. F. Strawson, “Identifying Reference and Truth-Values”.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ibid., p. 94.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Mates, “Descriptions and Reference”, p. 417.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Ibid., pp. 417–18.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    Saul A. Kripke, “Naming and Necessity”, p. 343, n. 3; see also “Speaker’s Reference and Semantic Reference”.Google Scholar
  6. 12.
    Bertrand Russell, “On Denoting”, p. 51. More carefully, ‘x is identical with C is a propositional function. See Chapter XV of Russell’s Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy.Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    Donnellan, “Reference and Definite Descriptions”, p. 285.Google Scholar
  8. 17.
    David Wiggins, “Identity, Designation, Essentialism, and Physicalism”, p. 28 n. 9.Google Scholar
  9. 18.
    Michael Lockwood, “On Predicating Proper Names”, p. 485 n. 21.Google Scholar
  10. 19.
    Donnellan, “Reference and Definite Descriptions”, p. 298.Google Scholar
  11. 20.
    Donnellan, p. 298.Google Scholar
  12. 21.
    Donnellan, p. 300.Google Scholar
  13. 23.
    Donnellan, p. 301.Google Scholar
  14. 24.
    Donnellan, p. 302.Google Scholar
  15. 25.
    Donnellan, p. 282.Google Scholar
  16. 26.
    Donnellan, p. 283.Google Scholar
  17. 27.
    Donnellan, p. 287.Google Scholar
  18. 29.
    Dennis W. Stampe, “Attributives and Interrogatives”, Section VI.Google Scholar
  19. 31.
    Donnellan, p. 303.Google Scholar
  20. 32.
    Donnellan, p. 284 n. 7. Caton’s discussion is in “Strawson on Referring”.Google Scholar
  21. 33.
    Donnellan, p. 297.Google Scholar
  22. 34.
    Donnellan, p. 297.Google Scholar
  23. 36.
    Donnellan, p. 297.Google Scholar
  24. 37.
    David Kaplan, “Dthat”, p. 384. Kaplan credits the point to Hintikka’s “Individuals, Possible Worlds, and Epistemic Logic”, p. 47.Google Scholar
  25. 45.
    Steven Boër, “Meaning and Contrastive Stress”, p. 274; see also Boër and Lycan, “Who, Me?”.Google Scholar
  26. 55.
    Kaplan, ibid., p. 388.Google Scholar
  27. 56.
    Nathan Salmon, Frege’s Puzzle, p. 1. (The further details of what Salmon calls the modified naive theory need not concern us here.)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rod Bertolet
    • 1
  1. 1.Purdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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