Bertrand Russell’s Philosophy of Language by Robert J. Clack (auth.)

By Robert J. Clack (auth.)

RUSSELL AND THE LINGUISTIC PHILOSOPHY I t is mostly said that Bertrand Russell performed an essential position within the so-called "revolution" that has taken position in 20th century Anglo-American philosophy, the revolution that has led many philo­ sophers nearly to equate philosophy with a few sort - or forms - of linguistic research. His contributions to this revolution have been ­ fold: (I) including G. E. Moore he led the profitable riot opposed to the neo-Hegelianism of Idealists comparable to Bradley and McTaggert; (2) back with Moore he supplied a lot of the impetus for a just a little innovative method of doing philosophy. (I) and (2) are, in fact, shut­ ly comparable, because the new manner of philosophizing may be stated to consti­ tute, largely, the riot opposed to Idealism. Be this because it might, how­ ever, the $64000 truth for current attention is that Russell used to be a huge effect in turning Anglo-American philosophy within the course it has accordingly taken - towards what can be termed, really normal­ ly, the "linguistic philosophy. " regrettably, even though his significance as a precursor of the linguistic philosophy is recognized, the fitting feel within which Russell himself might be thought of a "philosopher of language" has now not, to the current time, been sufficiently clarified. helpful beginnings were made towards an research of this query, yet they've been, withal, in basic terms start­ nings, and not anything like an enough photograph of Russell's total philoso­ phy of language is shortly available.

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Logic and Russell's logical atomism seems, on the whole, a bit overdrawn; nevertheless there is much to be said for it. Particularly sound, it seems to me, is the suggestion that Russell's work in mathematicallogic may have led him to try to use a method and techniques similar to those he had employed there to reduce mathematics to a few logical premises, to clarify ordinary language and "reduce" it to its fundamental propositions and, beyond that, to the basic constituents of these propositions.

For, Russell argues, the grammatical forms of propositions containing descriptive phrases are radically different from their logical forms and do not presuppose, for their meaningfulness, that there be some entity corresponding to each description. ) (2) In deprecating Meinong's theory as repugnant to our "feeling for reality," Russell is, I think, suggesting that in our approach to questions of logical analysis, we must not simply ignore the logical and ontological framework of ordinary language.

167-180). ") All terms are entities of some kind, whether they be physical objects, relations, properties, fictional beings, or whatever. Thus, he concludes, the role of a description in a sentence is always to stand for some term, to designate some kind of entity. With this as background we can better understand the nature of the problem that led him to formulate his theory of descriptions. In P. 01 M. his view of the logical function of denoting concepts (or, as I shall say alternatively, denoting phrases or descriptive phrases) is relatively simple and uncomplicated.

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