more from John P. Burgess

Single Idea 15414

[catalogued under 5. Theory of Logic / F. Referring in Logic / 2. Descriptions / b. Definite descriptions]

Full Idea

By contrast to rigidly designating proper names, …the denotation of definite descriptions is (in general) not rigid but flexible.

Gist of Idea

The denotation of a definite description is flexible, rather than rigid


John P. Burgess (Philosophical Logic [2009], 2.9)

Book Reference

Burgess,John P.: 'Philosophical Logic' [Princeton 2009], p.35

A Reaction

This modern way of putting it greatly clarifies why Russell was interested in the type of reference involved in definite descriptions. Obviously some descriptions (such as 'the only person who could ever have…') might be rigid.