Philosophy 127

1. The curiosity of George IV: A Carefully state Russell’s puzzle about George IV. Why is it puzzling? B What is Russell’s preliminary solution and how does it relate to Russell’s claim in On Denoting”: The proposition “Scott was the author of Waverley’, … written out in its unabbreviated form … does not contain any constituent “the author of Waverley’ for which we could substitute “Scott’. C Following his statement of the claim in B, Russell writes: This does not interfere with the truth of inferences resulting from making what is verbally the substitution of “Scott” for “the author of Waverley”, so long as “the author of Waverley” has what I call a primary occurrence in the proposition considered. So what exactly does prevent him from deriving from premises that are true in the context of the banquet a conclusion that Russell characterizes as attributing an interest in the law of identity to the first gentleman of Europe? (The answer to this question does not require you to discuss the scope of names.) 2. Russell writes [According to my theory,] every proposition of the form “C(the present King of France)” is false. This is a great advantage of the present theory. I shall show later that it is not contrary to the law of contradiction, as might be at first supposed. A What is the analysis of sentences of the form “C(the present King of France)” according to Russell’s theory? (Give your answer in the language of first order logic or in an English version of first order logic.) B Why are such sentences false? C Why might one think that “every proposition of the form “C(the present King of France)” is false” is contrary to the law of contradiction, or, equivalently, contrary to the law of excluded middle (bivalence)? D How does Russell attempt to show that it is not contrary to the law of contradiction? 3. Russell”s puzzle about The difference between A and B”: A What is the point of Russell’s puzzle about the difference between A and B”. Why is it puzzling? (Do not get side tracked by various other issues that Russell found interesting.) B What is Russell’s solution? C Russell could have given a solution to this puzzle based on the one he gives for the puzzle about the present king of France. What would that solution have been? Why didn”t he give that solution? D Which solution do you find to be superior and why? 4. Russell claims that evidence for his theory of definite descriptions is derived from the difficulties which seem unavoidable if we regard denoting phrases as standing for genuine constituents of the propositions in whose verbal expressions they occur”. He then critiques two such theories of definite descriptions. A Explain each of the two theories and the problems Russell raises for each. B Evaluate Russell”s critique of each theory. Do you think what Russell says against each theory is correct? For each theory, what might defender of the theory say in response to such a critique?

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