Apr 042012

Bertrand Russell adopted Frege’s predicate logic as his primary philosophical method, a method he thought could expose the underlying structure of philosophical problems. For example, the English word “is” has three distinct meanings by predicate logic:

  • For the sentence ‘the cat is asleep’, the is of predication means that “x is P” (denoted as P(x))
  • For the sentence ‘there is a cat’, the is of existence means that “there is an x” (∃x);
  • For the sentence ‘three is half of six’, the is of identity means that “x is the same as y” (x=y).
Russell sought to resolve various philosophical issues by applying such definite distinctions, most famously in his analysis of definite descriptions in “On Denoting.”
 Posted by at 4:44 am

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