Ideas from 'The Philosophy of Logical Atomism' by Bertrand Russell [1918], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Russell's Logical Atomism' by Russell,Bertrand (ed/tr Pears,David) [Fontana 1972,-]].

Click on the Idea Number for the full details    |     back to texts     |     expand these ideas


1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 3. Metaphysics as Science
The business of metaphysics is to describe the world
2. Reason / B. Laws of Thought / 6. Ockham's Razor
Reducing entities and premisses makes error less likely
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 5. What Makes Truths / a. What makes truths
Facts make propositions true or false, and are expressed by whole sentences
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 8. Making General Truths
Not only atomic truths, but also general and negative truths, have truth-makers
4. Formal Logic / F. Set Theory ST / 3. Types of Set / c. Unit (Singleton) Set
Normally a class with only one member is a problem, because the class and the member are identical
5. Theory of Logic / E. Structures of Logic / 1. Logical Form
In a logically perfect language, there will be just one word for every simple object
Romulus does not occur in the proposition 'Romulus did not exist'
5. Theory of Logic / F. Referring in Logic / 1. Naming / a. Names
You can understand 'author of Waverley', but to understand 'Scott' you must know who it applies to
There are a set of criteria for pinning down a logically proper name
5. Theory of Logic / F. Referring in Logic / 1. Naming / b. Names as descriptive
Treat description using quantifiers, and treat proper names as descriptions
5. Theory of Logic / F. Referring in Logic / 1. Naming / e. Empty names
A name has got to name something or it is not a name
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 9. Fictional Mathematics
Numbers are classes of classes, and hence fictions of fictions
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 6. Fundamentals / d. Logical atoms
Russell's atomic facts are actually compounds, and his true logical atoms are sense data
Logical atomism aims at logical atoms as the last residue of analysis
Once you have enumerated all the atomic facts, there is a further fact that those are all the facts
Logical atoms aims to get down to ultimate simples, with their own unique reality
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 7. Facts / b. Types of fact
Russell asserts atomic, existential, negative and general facts
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 10. Ontological Commitment / a. Ontological commitment
'Existence' means that a propositional function is sometimes true
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 2. Nature of Necessity
Modal terms are properties of propositional functions, not of propositions
11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 3. Error
The theory of error seems to need the existence of the non-existent
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 5. Interpretation
Perception goes straight to the fact, and not through the proposition
19. Language / B. Assigning Meanings / 3. Predicates
Russell uses 'propositional function' to refer to both predicates and to attributes
19. Language / D. Propositions / 1. Propositions
Propositions don't name facts, because each fact corresponds to a proposition and its negation
19. Language / D. Propositions / 6. Propositions Critique
An inventory of the world does not need to include propositions
I no longer believe in propositions, especially concerning falsehoods
19. Language / F. Communication / 4. Private Language
The names in a logically perfect language would be private, and could not be shared
28. God / C. Proofs of Reason / 2. Ontological Proof critique
You can discuss 'God exists', so 'God' is a description, not a name