Synthese 152 (1):47 - 79 (2006)
Russell’s new theory of denoting phrases introduced in “On Denoting” in Mind 1905 is now a paradigm of analytic philosophy. The main argument for Russell’s new theory is the so-called ‘Gray’s Elegy’ argument, which purports to show that the theory of denoting concepts (analogous to Frege’s theory of senses) promoted by Russell in the 1903 Principles of Mathematics is incoherent. The ‘Gray’s Elegy’ argument rests on the premise that if a denoting concept occurs in a proposition, then the proposition is not about the concept. I argue that the premise is false. The ‘Gray’s Elegy’ argument does not exhaust Russell’s ammunition against the theory of denoting concepts. Another reason Russell rejects the theory is, as he says, that it cannot provide an adequate account of non-uniquely denoting concepts. In the last section of the paper, I argue that even though Russell was right in thinking that the theory of denoting concepts cannot provide an adequate account of non-uniquely denoting concepts, Russell’s new theory does not succeed in eliminating the occurrence of all denoting concepts, as it requires a commitment to the existence of variables that indirectly denote their values. However, the view that variables are denoting concepts is unproblematic once the ‘Gray’s Elegy’ argument is blocked.
|Keywords||Philosophy Philosophy Epistemology Logic Metaphysics Philosophy of Language|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
The Paradoxes and Russell's Theory of Incomplete Symbols.Kevin C. Klement - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (2):183-207.
Similar books and articles
On Denoting : Appearance and Reality.Gideon Makin - 2009 - In Nicholas Griffin & Dale Jacquette (eds.), Russell Vs. Meinong: The Legacy of. Routledge.
A Cantorian Argument Against Frege's and Early Russell's Theories of Descriptions.Kevin C. Klement - 2009 - In Nicholas Griffin & Dale Jacquette (eds.), Russell Vs. Meinong: The Legacy of. Routledge.
Polyadic Quantification Via Denoting Concepts.Ori Simchen - 2010 - Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 51 (3):373-381.
On the "Gray's Elegy" Argument and its Bearing on Frege's Theory of Sense.James Levine - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69 (2):251–295.
"On Denoting" and the Principle of Acquaintance.Russell Wahl - 2014 - Russell: The Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies 27 (1).
The Gray's Elegy Argument: Denoting Concepts, Singular Terms, and Truth-Value Dependence.Andrew P. Rebera - 2009 - Prolegomena 8 (2):207-232.
On Russell's Arguments for Restricting Modes of Specification and Domains of Quantification.Bernhard Weiss - 1994 - History and Philosophy of Logic 15 (2):173-188.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads289 ( #10,673 of 2,164,556 )
Recent downloads (6 months)10 ( #33,332 of 2,164,556 )
How can I increase my downloads?