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Single Idea 21529

[catalogued under 5. Theory of Logic / F. Referring in Logic / 2. Descriptions / c. Theory of definite descriptions]

Full Idea

With the devices of the Theory of Descriptions at hand, it was no longer necessary to take 'the' as indefinable, and it was possible to diminish greatly the number of entities to which a logical system is ontologically committed.

Gist of Idea

Russell showed how to define 'the', and thereby reduce the ontology of logic

Source

report of Bertrand Russell (On Denoting [1905]) by Douglas Lackey - Intros to Russell's 'Essays in Analysis. p.13

A Reaction

Illuminating, because it shows that ontology is what drove Russell at this time, and really they were all searching for Quine's 'desert landscapes', which minimalise commitment.

Book Reference

Russell,Bertrand: 'Essays in Analysis', ed/tr. Lackey,Douglas [George Braziller 1973], p.13