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Discusiones Filosóficas

Print version ISSN 0124-6127

Abstract

MOLDOVAN, Andrei. An assessment of the argument from convention. discus.filos [online]. 2016, vol.17, n.28, pp.15-34. ISSN 0124-6127.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17151/difil.2016.17.28.2.

This paper focuses on what is known in the literature on the semantics and pragmatics of definite descriptions as "the argument from convention". This argument purports to show that referential uses of definite descriptions are a semantic phenomenon. A key premise of the argument is that none of the pragmatic alternatives (any one of a variety of Gricean accounts of referential uses) is successful. I argue that no good reason is offered to support this claim. I conclude that the argument from convention fails to be compelling.

Keywords : Ambiguity; convention; definite descriptions; Michael Devitt; reference.

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