Some Exegetical Puzzles about Donnellan’s “Reference and Definite Descriptions”

Here’s another philosophical problem set. This time, however, I myself am not at all sure what the correct answers are!

1) In the referential use, we have a de re proposition about a particular object. But what kind of proposition does Donnellan think corresponds to the attributive use? Quantificational, i.e., “purely general”? About an object, but where the object is fixed by the circumstance of evaluation? Or something else again?

2) Does Donnellan think that the statement made with an attributive use, where nothing satisfies the description, is lacking in truth value? What about when a description used referentially is “empty”?

3) Is there really reference going on in the attributive use?

4) Is Donnellan proposing a use theory of meaning for definite descriptions?


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