Both count and mass nouns admit the definite article.
The definite integral (also called Riemann integral) of a function f(x) is denoted as
Why suppose that definite descriptions fail to refer?
Such definite descriptions are therefore “de facto” rigid designators.
Still, there are also reasons to question Russell’s claim that definite descriptions fail to refer.
We will conclude with some remarks concerning issues specific to indefinite and definite singulars.
For instance, the definite description ‘the inaugural speaker in 2009’ will generate the following Kaplanian matrix:
Is the future definite, then, and not contingent, since the gods know future facts in a definite manner?
Definite singular generics appear to invoke constraints similar to those of indefinite singulars, but also some more besides.
So even if each can be shown to be definite in distinct contexts of measurement, can both be definite at the same time?
Other constraints on the acceptability of definite singulars have been noted by Nunberg and Pan (1975), Carlson (1977), Dahl (1985), and others.
Like definite singular generics, bare singular generics have received less attention than definite singular generics and bare plural generics.
And definite descriptions, given Russell’s view of definite descriptions, are not genuine referring terms but are instead quantificational expressions.
Likewise a “propositional function” 𝔈(x), in which the variable term x ranges over all individuals of a class 𝔎, is said to be “definite” if it is definite for each single individual x of the class 𝔎.
Like Austin, but unlike Searle, Bach and Harnish argue for the concept of locutionary acts: acts of using sentences with “a more or less definite ‘sense’ and a more or less definite ‘reference,’” in Austin’s words.
Although they may lack information expressible by some definite description—let alone by a single definite description—for uniquely identifying many concrete particulars, still people manage to secure reference to them.
They have neither a definite size nor shape, whereas ordinary solids have both a definite size and a definite shape, and liquids have a definite size, or volume, even though they adapt their shape to that of the container in which they are placed.
On some traditional descriptivist theories of proper names, the content of a proper name can be expressed by a purely qualitative definite description, which is a definite description that does not contain any directly-referential terms (such as proper names and indexicals, if these are directly-referential).
This new proposal matches the old one in cases where the old one applies, and generalizes it by fixing the definite-valued properties in terms of multi-dimensional projectors when the biorthogonal decomposition is degenerate: definite-valued properties need not always be represented by one-dimensional vectors—higher-dimensional subspaces of the Hilbert space can also occur.
Since definite descriptions also belong under the general head of definite noun phrases (along with pronouns and demonstratives), this evidence is used to support views on which names are a type of definite description (Sloat 1969; Larson & Segal 1995: 354–355; Elbourne 2005), but is consistent with names forming their own species of definite.
- precise; explicit and clearly defined
Example: I want a definite answer
- known for certain
Example: it is definite that they have won
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Since definite descriptions also belong under the general head of definite noun phrases along with pronouns and demonstratives this evidence is used to support views on which names are a type of definite description Sloat 1969 Larson Segal 1995 354–355 Elbourne 2005 but is consistent with names forming their own species of definite