Does Keith Donnellan's referential/attributive distinction have "semantic significance"? Howard Wettstein has claimed (in several papers) that it does; Nathan Salmon has responded (in several papers) that it does not. Specifically, while Wettstein has claimed that definite descriptions, used referentially, function semanticaliy as demonstratives, Salmon has responded to Wettstein's claims by defending a unitary Russellian account of such expressions, according to which they invariably function as quantifiers. This paper involves a critique of the debate between Wettstein and Salmon, and offers a tentative resolution of that debate: one that favors Wettstein's "ambiguity" account over the unitary Russellian account defended by Salmon.
ASJC Scopus subject areas