I have primarily tried to establish, in this monograph, a sharp and clear-cut distinction between two varieties of referring expressions, namely names and
descriptions. I have given arguments in support of this distinction from the point of view of both linguistics as well as philosophy. I have pointed out here that
the above distinction is restricted to a particular variety of linguistic expressions, namely the noun phrases.
On the basis of the distinction so established, I have tried to re-interpret two other distinctions that are generally conceded to be occurring among referring
expressions, namely (i) the distinction between proper names and common names, and (ii) the distinction between the so-called referential and non-referential
uses of nominal expressions. I have pointed out that the generic, nonspecific, predicative, and the attributive uses of noun phrases can all be brought together into
a single variety of use on the basis of the fact that all of them represent a reference to the underlying characteristics of the noun phrases concerned, instead of a
reference to a specific (or particular) entity that shows those characteristics.
Since all these three distinctions are of great interest to philosophers, logicians, and linguists, and since some very important facts concerning these distinctions
have been newly uncovered in this monograph (especially about the distinction between names and descriptions), I am hopeful that the scholars working on these
topics would find this monograph interesting. In my forthcoming monograph entitled Predication, I plan to examine the distinction between predication and
reference (and also modification) on the one hand, and between the major varieties of predication on the other, so that some of the topics left untouched in this
present monograph can be examined in detail.
The present monograph has resulted from a seminar course I gave for the M.A. Students of the University of Poona during the year 1978. I am indebted to my
students and to my colleagues at the Deccan College who have helped me either directly or indirectly in developing these ideas. I am especially thankful to Dr. H.
S. Biligiri who has carefully gone through this monograph in its manuscript form and has given many helpful suggestions.
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