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Russell's Logical Atomism$
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David Bostock

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199651443

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199651443.001.0001

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(p.236) 13 Universals
Russell's Logical Atomism

David Bostock

Oxford University Press

Russell argued in 1912 that particulars exist, as well as universals. In fact he recanted this argument much later, in 1940, and the recantation shows how weak that argument actually is. He always believed in universals (for what seem to be quite inadequate reasons), but there is a question over how this relates to his acceptance of propositional functions. The best solution seems to be that simple propositional functions correspond to universals, but others are merely arrangements of symbols, as also are the propositions that they are abstracted from. (But one may well ask whether this provides enough propositional functions, for the reduction of mathematics to logic apparently requires an uncountable infinity of them.)

Keywords:   universals, particulars, propositional functions, simplicity, uncountable infinity

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