Chapter

On Designating (2005)

Nathan Salmon

in Metaphysics, Mathematics, and Meaning

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780199284719
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603235 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199284717.003.0016
 On Designating (2005)

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A new interpretation is proposed for the notorious “Gray’s Elegy” passage in Bertrand Russell’s ground-breaking essay, On Denoting. The passage is Russell’s central argument for the doctrine — surprising, yet crucial to Russell’s philosophical program — that definite descriptions are not singular terms. Two elements of Russell’s objection — the commitment to a hierarchy of indirect senses and the complaint that the hierarchy is a practical impossibility — have been rediscovered in more recent philosophy. Possible responses are: one on behalf of Fregean theory, another on behalf of Millianism.

Keywords: denoting; description; elegy; Gray; meaning; proposition; Russell

Chapter.  30309 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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