# Questions tagged [bertrand-russell]

Bertrand Russell (1872–1970) was a British philosopher and logician who is regarded as one of the founders of analytic philosophy and modern logic.

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### Is Frege's axiom of unrestricted comprehension actually true after all?

Consider the following demonstration whose first line is the assumption called the axiom of unrestricted comprehension. ∀F∃y ∀x[x ∈ y iff F(x)] [OSC1] ∀F∃y [α ∈ y iff F(α)] [UI] ∃y [α ∈ y iff α ∉ α] [...
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### Hugh MacColl and Meinong's position on existence

After researching the Russell and MacColl debate, at first I didn't know about MacColl, but I became very interested in him, so I continued to research him and eventually found out more about theory ...
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### Frege's implication theory

In a comment in the answer to a question I previously posted, someone said MacColl asserted that the Boolean translation of "Every X is A" as XA=X does not work due to the "ivalid"...
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### Russell's acquittance and description

One interesting result of the above theory of denoting is this: when there is anything with which we do not have immediate acquaintance, but only definition by denoting phrases, then the ...
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### Russell's criticism on Frege in "On Denoting"

The one phrase C was to have both meaning and denotation. But if we speak of “the meaning of C,” that gives us the meaning (if any) of the denotation. “The meaning of the first line of Gray’s Elegy” ...
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### Russell's "On Denoting"

“If u is a unit class, the u is a u.” This proposition ought to be always true, since the conclusion is true whenever the hypothesis is true. But “the u” is a denoting phrase, and it is the denotation,...
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### What value had Bertrand Russell attached to philosophy?

Late in life Bertrand Russell said that were he young again he would not take to philosophy. What value, if any, did he attach to philosophy at that point?
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### Is there anything more fundamental than quantification?

In the prevailing view of the concept of "Existence," it is well-known that it isn't a property of individual objects, but rather a property of properties. As Frege would put it: It is a ...
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### "Present king of France" as a typical case of material implication

So why can't I consider "The present king of France is bald" as material implication? P = 'There's a present king of France', Q = 'A present king of France is bald'. Therefore "P -> ...
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### What is the nature of the difference between a contradiction and a paradox (as apparent contradiction)?

Given the recent PhilSE question What framework or tool solves the Barber Paradox? it emerged from a number of answers including Bumble's and Mauro's that there is a technical distinction between ...
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### Where do presuppositions fit into Grice's theory of meaning?

To clarify, by "Grice's theory of meaning" I am referring to the view that the informational content or meaning of an utterance is made up of three components: what is said - the actual ...
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### formalization: definite description (narrow reading)

I am not sure which formalization is right [1] or [2]: 'The teacher of Plato does not exist.' [1] ∃x(Tx,p ∧ ∀y[Ty,p → y=x] ∧ ¬∃y[y = x]) [2] ∃x(Tx,p ∧ ∀y[Ty,p → y=x] ∧ ¬∃z[z = x]) Is it possible to ...
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### What is the burden of proof? Has this principle ever been challenged?

I have been surprised to find that some people doubt this principle. Onus probandi incumbit ei qui dicit, non ei qui negat - the burden of proof lies with the speaker, not with the one who negates. I ...
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### Must all sentences be true or false?

Suppose there is a entity with which you can write down a self-contradictory sentence.Does the entity still exist?For example you know Russell's paradox?There is someone who says:"I always lie&...
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### Does matter have an intrinsic nature?

Russell posits that matter has an intrinsic as well as an extrinsic nature. There is being as well as doing. He says "We know nothing about the intrinsic quality of physical events except when ...
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### Is there a couniversal solution to the predicate-theoretic version of Russell's paradox?

In set theory, let us call a solution to the problem of universal-sets-or-proper-classes a couniversal solution when it involves proposing the following: ∃U∀x((x ≠ U) ⟺ (x ∈ U)) This means that U is ...
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### Does Russell's objection to Meinongianism apply whenever we take the meta-version of an existence-predicate distinction?

The point of departure: A third problem, one of Russell’s objections to Meinongianism (see [Russell 1905a, 1907]), turns on the fact that existence is, on Meinongianism, a property and hence figures ...
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### Argumentation by Russel as to what constitutes an a priori knowable proposition

In the Problems of Philosophy, chapter 10: ON OUR KNOWLEDGE OF UNIVERSALS (p.57 in my book), Russel writes the following: The thing that seemed mysterious, when we formerly considered such knowledge, ...
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### Bertrand Russell describes Aristotle

"The form of a thing, we are told, is its essence and primary substance. Forms are substantial, although universals are not. When a man makes a brazen sphere, both the matter and the form already ...
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### What were Bertrand Russell's later views on quantum mechanics?

Russell touched on QM a bit in The Analysis of Matter, which was the same year as the Fifth Solvay Conference. I am sure he must have thought very deeply about the implications of the quantum theory, ...
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### For what theories of meaning are ambiguous referents problematic?

Suppose I am talking to an English friend of mine and I say, "Boston is in Massachusetts." Since I am referring to the American city, I consider this sentence to be true. My friend evaluates ...
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### Why did it take 3000 years for theories of mathematical foundations to emerge? [closed]

Humans have been doing mathematics for at least 3000 years. In ancient Egypt they did some advanced trigonometry and number theory. Mathematics is thousands of years old, but for some reason it was ...
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### Russell and consequentialism

Bertrand Russell is a consequentialist (see here [1] and here [2]: “ Russell, like Moore was what is nowadays known as a consequentialist. He believed that the rightness or otherwise of an act is “in ...
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### What did Russell mean when he wrote that the null-class, the class having no members, did not exist?

I am not quite sure I interpret the following sentence correctly in Bertrand Russell's paper on existential import: and among classes there is just one which does not exist, namely, the class having ...
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### What is a convincing explanation of how Russell's "golden mountains" argument is logically fallacious?

Here is the now famous passage in his book on Western philosophy where Bertrand Russell explains why Aristotle's position that the universal affirmative "All Greeks are men" implies the ...
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### Do these expressions denote?

Say I have a sentence like: 'If I had a dog, I would walk it' What is the role of 'a dog' and 'it', from reading about indefinite descriptions, the fact that I am discussing in general implies there ...
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### Russell - Concepts vs Denotation

I understand why definite descriptions like 'The King of England' are denoting phrases, but I am confused by differing between concepts and what they 'denote'. In Principles of Mathematics: A concept ...
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### Do Universals Possess a Different Kind of Reality to Particulars?

I have a long interest in the 'problem of universals' and a conviction that some form of either Platonic or Aristotelian realism in respect of universals is correct. This extends to what is called '...
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### How many 'idols' did Francis Bacon identify?

The majority of references to Francis Bacon's 'idols' refer to 4 distinct ones but some sources have otherwise. There is a supposed 5th, that is 'idols of the schools'. Which is correct? Did Bacon ...
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### Seeking a quote of Russell on what he could conceive or discuss

At some point someone asked Bertrand Russell about formal logical language without distinctions of type. (I think it might have been Quine, who was developing for example kinds of algebraic logic ...
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### Source of a Russell quote about difficulties in his work

Some years ago I read somewhere a memoir by Bertrand Russell. He wrote about the difficulties he encountered in writing Principia Mathematica (or trying to solve the paradox that bears his name). He ...
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### Why was Russell discontent with Wittgenstein's view on "logic as tautologies"?

While reading Logicomix, I came across a scene that I don't quite understand. Russell: ...Logicians are creating elaborate ways to "say the same things in different words"...this "...
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### Is there a quantitative measure for a philosopher's skill?

Obviously, the property you should be interested in here is fame. Below a ranking of the philosophers included in Leiter's list, sorted by fame (measured in dBHa, the international logarithmic unit of ...
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### Why Can't We Replace Names with Descriptions?

If the descriptivist theory says that the sense of a name is a description, then why do the cognitive values of the two differ? i.e. One could believe the first, but not the second. Superman is ...
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### what is Russell's Neutral Monism and how does it differ from Spinoza's Substance Monism?

I have studied Spinoza, so you don't need to explain that part. For some reason, explanations of Russell on the internet don't get into my head, that's why I've come here.
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### How does the view "without mathematics no true wisdom is possible" imply an oligarchy? (History of Western Philosophy)

In his chapter on Plato, Russell says "He was sufficiently Pythagorean to think that without mathematics no true wisdom is possible. This implies an oligarchy." and I can't follow the ...
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### Question about Russell's distinction between knowledge of things and knowledge of truths in 'The Problems of Philosophy'

In his book, Russell distinguishes several types of knowledge. He first distinguishes knowledge of truths, and of things. "the sense in which what we know is true (...) i.e. to what are called ...
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### Is Russell's "(im)predicativity" terminology related to (or even derived from) Kant's "existence is not a predicate" argument?

I'm a mathematician who's generally ignorant of philosophy, so forgive me if my question is a bit sloppy. I'm really trying to ask about a historical connection/context. I recently encountered the ...
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### Did Bertrand Russell foresee, in 1943, the 21st century’s propensity to assign factuality to whatever information one finds most comfortable?

I recently read a short paragraph in Russell’s “History of Western Philosophy” which stunned me—it was the shock of recognition—to the extent that I put down the book and stared into space for a good ...
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### How may the terms "a priori" and "a posteriori" be used in(side) of mathematics?

This question seems either trivial or somewhat vague; let me explain further. I apologize if I am misunderstanding the concepts or missing the point entirely; I am a mathematics student and I ...
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### What, if anything, has post-positivism left standing as the legacy of Frege’s Begriffsschriftis, Russel’s Principia, and Wittgenstein’s Tractatus

The goal of both Russel’s Principia (1910) and Frege’s Begriffsschriftis (1879) ["a formula language, modeled on that of arithmetic, for pure thought."] was essentially to defend the ...
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### How do I symbolise this statement with a definite description in first order logic?

"If there is exactly one present King of France, then the present King of France is a present King of France" The part I am confused about is the consequent of the conditional which equals ...
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### Confidence margin for logical verification

I'm starting to read Wittgenstein and I keep circling around a problem, which I'll lay out with the following ideas: a. Logical space is the totality of external reality. b. A proposition is logical ...
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### Did Bertrand Russell mock Christians for considering humanity important?

(I am aware this question is not a philosophy question per se, but there are possibly many people here who are likely to be familiar with Bertrand Russell's writings.) Bertrand Russell's daughter, ...
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### Formal Proof and Russell's paradox?

I am a little thrown off with this. Can we express Russell’s paradox as "A dog chases all and only those dogs that don’t chase themselves"? What is a formal proof showing that it is ...
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### How does Davidson's Slingshot argument escape Russell's Theory of Definite Descriptions?

Hi I am trying to understand Davidson's Slingshot argument. Apparently it is said that Russell's Theory of Definite Descriptions does not face the problem that Davidson highlights. For instance, if we ...
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### How shall I understand Wittgenstein's comment on Russell's work?

Ludwig Wittgenstein said Russell’s books should be bound in two colours…those dealing with mathematical logic in red – and all students of philosophy should read them; those dealing with ethics and ...
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### Does Russell state that atoms are neither mental nor physical?

In the context of Russell's philosophy, are atoms neither mental nor physical? I think yes. In the context of neutral monism, he seems to offer the above view by saying that there is a single material ...
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### Difference between Frege and Russell on Definite Descriptions?

I'm relatively new to philosophy and I'm starting out with the 'staple' philosophers - namely Frege and Russell. I've read Frege's "Sense and Reference" and Russell's "On Denoting." One thing I have ...
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