"On Denoting" and the Principle of Acquaintance

Russell Wahl
Idaho State University
While Russell’s concerns in developing the theory of descriptions were primarily with his foundation of logic, he was aware of the epistemological uses of both the theory of denoting concepts and the 1905 theory of deWnite descriptions. At the end of “On Denoting” he suggests that the principle of acquaintance is a “result” of the new theory of denoting. In this paper I examine the relation between the theory of descriptions and the principle of acquaintance, and I reject two suggestions, one that Russell’s view commits him to the position that quantiWers range only over objects of acquaintance, the other that the principle of acquaintance plays a crucial role in the Gray’s Elegy argument. Russell’s earlier theory of denoting concepts went hand in hand with the principle of acquaintance, as Russell made clear in his “Points about Denoting”. So the principle of acquaintance was neither a motivator for the new account nor a special consequence of it. The new account of “On Denoting”, while dispensing with denoting concepts, preserved the connection that the older de-
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.15173/russell.v27i1.2114
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: 43,822
External links

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

The Principles of Mathematics.Bertrand Russell - 1903 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 11 (4):11-12.
Meinong Reconstructed Versus Early Russell Reconstructed.Nino Cocchiarella - 1982 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 11 (2):183 - 214.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Polyadic Quantification Via Denoting Concepts.Ori Simchen - 2010 - Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 51 (3):373-381.
On Denoting : Appearance and Reality.Gideon Makin - 2009 - In Nicholas Griffin & Dale Jacquette (eds.), Russell Vs. Meinong: The Legacy of. Routledge.
Acquaintance, Denoting Concepts, and Sense.James Levine - 1998 - Philosophical Review 107 (3):415-445.
Making Sense of 'On Denoting'.Gideon Makin - 1995 - Synthese 102 (3):383 - 412.
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.
The Acquaintance Principle.Malcolm Budd - 2003 - British Journal of Aesthetics 43 (4):386-392.


Added to PP index

Total views
104 ( #77,026 of 2,265,166 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
10 ( #98,838 of 2,265,166 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature