Philosophical Studies 129 (3):627-635 (2006)

Ian Proops
University of Texas at Austin
A critical discussion of selected chapters of the first volume of Scott Soames’s Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century. It is argued that this volume falls short of the minimal standards of scholarship appropriate to a work that advertises itself as a history, and, further, that Soames’s frequent heuristic simplifications and distortions, since they are only sporadically identified as such, are more likely confuse than to enlighten the student. These points are illustrated by reference to Soames’s discussions of Russell’s logical system and the place of the theory of descriptions in his ontological development. It is then argued that Soames’s interpretation of the point of G.E. Moore’s famous “proof” of an external world, while not straightforwardly undermined by the textual evidence, is nonetheless questionable, and plausibly overlooks what is novel in Moore’s discussion. This, it is argued, in his attempt to offer a common sense “refutation of idealism”, rather than (as is more commonly supposed) an anti-skeptical argument “from differential certainty”.
Keywords Soames  Russell  Moore  ontology  external world  theory of descriptions  Meinong  descriptions  proof of an external world
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-006-0014-4
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References found in this work BETA

Logic and Knowledge.BERTRAND RUSSELL - 1957 - Philosophical Quarterly 7 (29):374.

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The Functions of Russell’s No Class Theory.Kevin C. Klement - 2010 - Review of Symbolic Logic 3 (4):633-664.
Russell on Incomplete Symbols.Bryan Pickel - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (10):909-923.
Soames on Russell’s Logic: A Reply.Michael Kremer - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 139 (2):209-212.

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