David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Mind 114 (456):1069-1133 (2005)
A detailed interpretation is provided of the ‘Gray's Elegy’ passage in Russell's ‘On Denoting’. The passage is suffciently obscure that its principal lessons have been independently rediscovered. Russell attempts to demonstrate that the thesis that definite descriptions are singular terms is untenable. The thesis demands a distinction be drawn between content and designation, but the attempt to form a proposition directly about the content (as by using an appropriate form of quotation) inevitably results in a proposition about the thing designated instead of the content expressed. In light of this collapse, argues Russell, the thesis that definite descriptions are singular terms must accept that all propositions about a description's content represent it by means of a higher-level descriptive content, so that knowledge of a description's content is always ‘by description’, not ‘by acquaintance’. This, according to Russell, renders our cognitive grip on definite descriptions inexplicable. Separate responses on behalf of Fregeans and Millians are offered.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Saul A. Kripke (2008). Frege's Theory of Sense and Reference: Some Exegetical Notes. Theoria 74 (3):181-218.
Joshua Armstrong & Jason Stanley (2011). Singular Thoughts and Singular Propositions. Philosophical Studies 154 (2):205 - 222.
Scott Soames (forthcoming). Propositions as Cognitive Acts. Synthese:1-15.
Aaron Z. Zimmerman (2006). Self-Verification and the Content of Thought. Synthese 149 (1):59-75.
Kevin C. Klement (2014). The Paradoxes and Russell's Theory of Incomplete Symbols. Philosophical Studies 169 (2):183-207.
Similar books and articles
A. Bezuidenhout (1997). Pragmatics, Semantic Undetermination and the Referential/Attributive Distinction. Mind 106 (423):375-409.
Karel Lambert (1987). On the Philosophical Foundations of Free Description Theory. History and Philosophy of Logic 8 (1):57-66.
Charles Sayward (1993). Definite Descriptions, Negation and Necessitation. Russell 13 (1):36-47.
Stephen Schiffer (2005). Russell's Theory of Definite Descriptions. Mind 114 (456):1135-1183.
Alex Barber (2005). Co-Extensive Theories and Unembedded Definite Descriptions. In Reinaldo Elugardo & Robert J. Stainton (eds.), Ellipsis and Nonsentential Speech. Springer 185–201.
Keith S. Donnellan (1966). Reference and Definite Descriptions. Philosophical Review 75 (3):281-304.
Peter Millican (1990). Content, Thoughts, and Definite Descriptions. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 64 (1):167 - 220.
Kent Bach (2004). Descriptions: Points of Reference. In Marga Reimer & Anne Bezuidenhout (eds.), Descriptions and Beyond. Clarendon Press 189-229.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads77 ( #61,559 of 1,940,965 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #197,910 of 1,940,965 )
How can I increase my downloads?