Canadian Journal of Philosophy 10 (4):587-592 (1980)


Often Bertrand Russell defends his view that names differ from descriptions in that names have meaning but descriptions do not by using a “proof.” Recently in this journal it has been debated whether Russell's “proof” fails or not. The familiar objection to Russell's argument is that it is circular or it involves a sense/reference equivocation. Avrum Stroll suggests a novel criticism by making use of a “mirror argument“ which attempts to show that Russell's argument can be used to conclude that "Scott" has no meaning, and that thus the argument proves too much or nothing. Robert Fahrnkopf defends Russell's argument, but, I believe, he does not go far enough in his defense. So it will be useful to carry this debate a few steps further.

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