philosophy, analytic philosophy, history of philosophy


I compare Russell’s theory of mathematical functions, the “descriptive functions” from Principia Mathematica ∗30, with Frege’s well known account of functions as “unsaturated” entities. Russell analyses functional terms with propositional functions and the theory of definite descriptions. This is the primary technical role of the theory of descriptions in P M . In Principles of Mathematics and some unpublished writings from before 1905, Russell offered explicit criticisms of Frege’s account of functions. Consequenly, the theory of descriptions in “On Denoting” can be seen as a crucial part of Russell’s larger logicist reduction of mathematics,aswellasanexcursionintothetheoryof reference.

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