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Stephen Neale

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199247158

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199247153.001.0001

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(p.224) Appendix Incomplete Symbols

(p.224) Appendix Incomplete Symbols

Facing Facts

Stephen Neale

Oxford University Press

This short appendix to the book looks further at Bertrand Russell's designation of descriptions as incomplete symbols, in the context of his (and Kurt Gödel's) Theory of Descriptions. Russell says that descriptions are ‘incomplete symbols’, that they ‘have no meaning in isolation’, and that they ‘disappear on analysis. Most of the appendix discusses the contextual definition of descriptions as incomplete symbols. Another way of viewing descriptions also addressed is that of treating descriptions in terms of restricted quantification—an approach that is not necessarily at variance with treating them as incomplete symbols.

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