Thursday, 26 April 2012

Theories of Description

So. Picture yourself on a rainy, gloomy Thursday, looking forward to the prospect of delivering a two-hour lecture on Bertrand Russell's theories of description. Can you feel my pain? The difficulty here is that the purpose of this class is not to develop a deep and comprehensive understanding of the various theories which surround Russell's idea (this is quite possibly something which should reasonably expected of any sane person), but to introduce just enough to provide a working definition (if you will excuse the philosophical paradox) of the theory which to a large extent determined the shape and style of philosophical approaches to language throughout the twentieth century, and on to the present day. This presentation was designed to follow on from an initial review of the problems with referential language. Anyway, here we go: