Monday, August 21, 2006

There you go again

Damn language cops
The wisecrack at the TSA's expense actually strikes at the heart of a long-standing conundrum in the philosophy of language: how do we determine the intended domain of everyone and similar quantifiers? In the Anglo-American philosophical tradition, the question has been posed as a challenge to Bertrand Russell's theory of descriptions. Russell's theory is not well-equipped to deal with incomplete descriptions where quantifier domains must be inferred from pragmatic context.


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