David Bostock

in Russell's Logical Atomism

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199651443
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741197 | DOI:

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Russell advocates a logically perfect language. Its names will be names for simple particulars, and its predicates will signify simple universals. It is not immediately clear what he means by ‘simplicity’, nor why he thinks it desirable, but he does admit that it may not be attainable. The true sentences of this ‘perfect’ language are supposed to have the same structure as the facts that make them true. Russell claims that there are negative facts and general facts, but not (e.g.) disjunctive facts. He implies that there are no intensional facts involving necessity, causality, or value. He does apparently accept facts concerning beliefs, which are either intensional in themselves, or which involve facts concerning the meanings of symbols, which must be intensional. But it is perhaps better to set these aside, as requiring a metalanguage for their proper expression. Even so, we cannot accept the claim that the structure of the world is revealed by the structure of (the perfect) language.

Keywords: logically perfect language; facts; simples; structure; negative facts; general facts; intensional facts; facts of meaning; meta-anguages

Chapter.  14825 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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