Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 06 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter two kinds of theories of definite descriptions are reviewed: the first is Russell’s famous theory, which holds that the article the conveys unique satisfaction of the descriptive content associated with it. The second kind of theory is one which holds that the conventional import of the definite article is one of familiarity of some type. Following that, this chapter also reviews a number of serious problems for familiarity theories, arguing that those are sufficient to make such theories untenable. Finally, this chapter looks at cases where definite descriptions do convey familiarity, and attempts (not completely successfully) to explain those cases.

Keywords: definite descriptions, uniqueness, familiarity, Russellian uniqueness, familiarity theories of definiteness

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.