Getting Straight on How Russell Underestimated Frege

Roczniki Filozoficzne 62 (4):121-134 (2014)
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Bertrand Russell in his essay On Denoting [1905] presented a theory of description developed in response to the one proposed by Gottlob Frege in his paper Über Sinn und Bedeutung [1892]. The aim of our work will be to show that Russell underestimated Frege three times over in presenting the latter’s work: in relation to the Gray’s Elegy argument, to the Ferdinand argument, and to puzzles discussed by Russell. First, we will discuss two claims of Russell’s which do not do justice to Frege: that we speak of a sense by means of quotation marks, and that all Frege does to cope with phrases that might denote nothing is define an arbitrary object as their reference. Second, we will show that Russell omitted the fact that Frege’s theory provided some answers for the puzzles presented by Russell in his essay.
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