On Denoting

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"On Denoting" is an essay by Bertrand Russell from 1905. The essay was published in the philosophy journal Mind in 1905. It was reprinted, in both a special 2005 anniversary issue of the same journal and in Russell's Logic and Knowledge, 1956. The essay is one of the most significant and influential philosophical essays of the 20th century. In it, Russell introduces definite and indefinite descriptions, formulates descriptivism with regard to proper names, and characterises proper names as "disguised" or "abbreviated" definite descriptions.

In the 1920s, Frank P. Ramsey referred to the essay as "that paradigm of philosophy".[1][2] In the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry Descriptions, Peter Ludlow singled the essay out as "the paradigm of philosophy", and called it a work of "tremendous insight"; provoking discussion and debate among philosophers of language and linguists for over a century.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. Frank Plumpton Ramsey, Richard Bevan Braithwaite (2001), Richard Bevan Braithwaite (ed.), The foundations of mathematics and other logical essays, Routledge, p. 263, ISBN 978-0-415-22546-5, retrieved 28 August 2010
  2. A. W. Sparkes (1991), Talking philosophy: a wordbook, Taylor & Francis, p. 199, ISBN 978-0-415-04223-9, retrieved 28 August 2010
  3. Ludlow, Peter, "Descriptions", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2005 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL=http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2005/entries/descriptions/