Abstract for Elbourne’s Talk

Previous theorists have claimed that Russell’s theory of definite descriptions gives the wrong truth conditions to sentences in which definite descriptions are embedded under certain other operators; but the other operators used, such as conditionals and propositional attitude verbs, have introduced intensional and hyper-intensional complications that arguably obscure the point against Russell. This paper shows that the same kind of problem arises when the operator in question (English ‘no’) allows the context to be extensional. It is further argued that presuppositional theories of definite descriptions give intuitively satisfying analyses of the novel data.