On designating

Mind 114 (456):1069-1133 (2005)
Authors
Nathan Salmon
University of California at Santa Barbara
Abstract
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)
DOI 10.1093/mind/fzi1069
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 34,999
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Singular Thoughts and Singular Propositions.Joshua Armstrong & Jason Stanley - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 154 (2):205 - 222.
Propositions as Cognitive Acts.Scott Soames - forthcoming - Synthese:1-15.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

"On Denoting" and the Principle of Acquaintance.Russell Wahl - 2007 - Russell: The Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies 27 (1).
On the Philosophical Foundations of Free Description Theory.Karel Lambert - 1987 - History and Philosophy of Logic 8 (1):57-66.
Co-Extensive Theories and Unembedded Definite Descriptions.Alex Barber - 2005 - In Reinaldo Elugardo & Robert J. Stainton (eds.), Ellipsis and Nonsentential Speech. Springer. pp. 185–201.
Reference and Definite Descriptions.Keith S. Donnellan - 1966 - Philosophical Review 75 (3):281-304.
Content, Thoughts, and Definite Descriptions.Peter Millican - 1990 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 64 (1):167 - 220.
Descriptions: Points of Reference.Kent Bach - 2004 - In Marga Reimer & Anne Bezuidenhout (eds.), Descriptions and Beyond. Clarendon Press. pp. 189-229.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total downloads
92 ( #68,387 of 2,275,137 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #87,615 of 2,275,137 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature