Three Unpublished Manuscripts from 1903: "Functions", "Proof that no function takes all values", "Meaning and Denotation"

Russell: The Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies 36 (1):5-44 (2016)
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Abstract

I present and discuss three previously unpublished manuscripts written by Bertrand Russell in 1903, not included with similar manuscripts in Volume 4 of his Collected Papers. One is a one-page list of basic principles for his “functional theory” of May 1903, in which Russell partly anticipated the later Lambda Calculus. The next, catalogued under the title “Proof That No Function Takes All Values”, largely explores the status of Cantor’s proof that there is no greatest cardinal number in the variation of the functional theory holding that only some but not all complexes can be analyzed into function and argument. The final manuscript, “Meaning and Denotation”, examines how his pre-1905 dis­tinction between meaning and denotation is to be understood with respect to functions and their arguments. In them, Russell seems to endorse an extensional view of functions not endorsed in other works prior to the 1920s. All three manuscripts illustrate the close connection between his work on the logical paradoxes and his work on the theory of meaning.

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Kevin Klement
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

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