[hist-analytic] Russell's Early View on Meaning

Baynesr at comcast.net Baynesr at comcast.net
Fri Sep 25 09:21:30 EDT 2009



Anssi, 



Thanks! This helps a great deal. A thought just occurred to me: what, then does an abbreviation have in common with what it abbreviates? In the translation case we might consider that we are moving from one language to another; definitions occurring, say, in th metalanguage, but in the case of abbreviation we have something within a given language. As I recall in PM Russel regards definite descriptions as abbreviations. 



Again, thanks for this. 



Regards 



STeve 




----- Original Message ----- 
From: altkorho at mappi.helsinki.fi 
To: Baynesr at comcast.net 
Cc: "hist-analytic" <hist-analytic at simplelists.co.uk> 
Sent: Friday, September 25, 2009 8:17:37 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern 
Subject: Re: Russell's Early View on Meaning 

Steve, 

You can certainly find the idea in Frege. For example, a quick look at   
Frege's "Logic" of 1897 yielded the following sentence: "the thought   
must be preserved if we are to speak of a translation at all" (p. 231   
in the Frege Reader, edited by M. Beaney). No doubt, you can find   
quotations where Frege makes the point quite explicitly. In Frege you   
quite often find the idea that the thought is what gets communicated   
via language, and no doubt the step from here to the thesis you're   
interested in is not a very long one. Sorry I cannot give you a list   
of references, as I am supposed the lecture about the ontological   
argument on next Monday's metaphysics class. 


Anssi 

Lainaus Baynesr at comcast.net: 

> 
> 
> In my book I devote a few pages to the use of the private language   
> argument. Along the way, I became curioius about the origin of the   
> idea that meaning is what an expression has in common with its   
> translation. One finds this idea throughout the literature in   
> semantics. Few state the thesis explicitly but do accept it at least   
> implicitly. Quine is explicit on this in Word and Object (p. 32). 
> 
> 
> 
> However I notice it is, also, explicit in Russell's very early work,   
> circa 1904. I'm wondering if this originates with Russell. I think   
> it does. I don't think it is anywhere in Frege but it has been a   
> long time since I looked at Frege seriously. Does anyone know of an   
> earlier statement of this position? By the way, this position leads   
> Russell to regard meaning as an abstract entity, a position he later   
> abandons; but when he abandoned it later what became of his view of   
> the idea of a meta-language as a result if anything? 
> 
> 
> 
> Regards 
> 
> 
> 
> Steve 
> 
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