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Summary: According to James McCawley (1981) and Richard Larson and Gabriel Segal (1995), the following sentence is three-ways ambiguous: -/- Harry wants to be the mayor of Kenai. -/- According to them also, the three-way ambiguity cannot be accommodated on the Russellian view that definite descriptions are quantified noun phrases. In order to capture the three-way ambiguity of the sentence, these authors propose that definite descriptions must be ambiguous: sometimes they are predicate expressions; sometimes they are Russellian quantified noun phrases. After explaining why the McCawley-Larson-Segal solution contains an obvious flaw, I discuss how an effort to correct the flaw brings to light certain puzzles about the individuation of desires, about quantifying in, and about the disambiguation of desire ascriptions.
Comment: An interesting paper about the semantics of desire. Would be suitable in a philosophy of language course.Export citation in BibTeX formatExport text citationView this text on PhilPapersExport citation in Reference Manager formatExport citation in EndNote formatExport citation in Zotero format
Fara, Delia Graff. Desires, Scope, and Tense
2003, Philosophical Perspectives 17(1): 141-163.