A Re-examination of the Russellian Theory of Descriptions

Philosophy 35 (132):14-29 (1960)
Abstract
The theory of descriptions occupies a very prominent place in Russell's system of logic and indeed in his system of philosophy. Since the publication of the now classical paper “On Denoting” in Mind for 1905 the theory had been incorporated into Principia Mathematica , the first volume of which appeared in 1910. In 1918 Russell discussed descriptions in his lectures on the Philosophy of Logical Atomism, which subsequently were published in The Monist for 1919. A very lucid exposition of the main tenets of the doctrine is to be found in the Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy dating from the same year. Epistemological aspects of the theory of descriptions are examined in “Knowledge by Acquaintance and Knowledge by Description“, in the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society for 1910–11, and also in Chapter V of The Problems of Philosophy, first published in 1912
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