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ABSTRACT. This paper aims to provide support for the view that individual concepts are basic to natural language semantics. First, the use of constant individual concepts allows us to maintain Kripke’s view of proper names as nondescriptional rigid designators in the face of problems created by so-called “empty names.” And second, the distinction between constant and variable individual concepts can function in an analysis of the specific-nonspecific distinction in indefinite descriptions, parallel to Donnellan’s referential-attributive distinction in definite descriptions. Additionally, I respond to arguments that these distinctions are not semantic, and provide evidence that they are. pp. 23–44  

Keywords: individual concept, definite and indefinite description, semantics

 

BARBARA ABBOTT
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Michigan State University

 
 
 

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