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Análisis filosófico

versión On-line ISSN 1851-9636


DIAZ LEGASPE, Justina. Definite descriptions, misdescriptions and semantic content: different ways to solve a tricky puzzle. Anal. filos. [online]. 2009, vol.29, n.2, pp.159-166. ISSN 1851-9636.

Michael Devitt (2004, 2007) claims that the predicative material that constitutes complex referential expressions makes a semantic contribution to the proposition expressed. He thus deviates from direct referentialism, according to which every referential expression -either simple or complex- contributes just with an object to the proposition expressed, leaving the predicative material out of the semantic content. However, when dealing with misdescriptions, Devitt has suggested a pragmatic way out: the audience can understand what the speaker is referring to even if the object does not fall under the corresponding description. From my perspective, this proposal questions the semantic validity of the predicative material, together with Devitt's original claim. In this paper, I propose a way to solve the problem posed by misdescriptions that appeals to the idea of epistemically relativized properties, according to which the properties ascribed to the object -by means of the predicative material- correspond to the way the speaker thinks of it and not to the way the object really is.

Palabras clave : Definite description; Reference; Misdescription.

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