In Thomas Raleigh & Jonathan Knowles (eds.), Acquaintance: New Essays. Oxford University Press (2019)

Jessica Pepp
Uppsala University
The thesis that in order to genuinely think about a particular object one must be (in some sense) acquainted with that object has been thoroughly explored since it was put forward by Bertrand Russell. Recently, the thesis has come in for mounting criticism. The aim of this paper is to point out that neither the exploration nor the criticism have been sensitive to the fact that the thesis can be interpreted in two different ways, yielding two different principles of acquaintance. One principle uses the notion of content in distinguishing genuine thinking-about things from a merely derivative kind of thinking-about things. The other principle is quiet about content, focusing instead on a distinction between satisfactional and non-satisfactional means of bringing things into thought. Most work has focused on the first, content-based principle of acquaintance. But criticisms of this principle do not apply straightforwardly to the non-content-based principle. I shall argue that the latter principle merits independent assessment as part of the broader effort to account for genuine thinking about particular objects. In the final section of the paper, I will sketch a roadmap for this assessment.
Keywords acquaintance  Bertrand Russell  content  singular thought  semantic instrumentalism  aboutness
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and Other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
On Denoting.Bertrand Russell - 1905 - Mind 14 (56):479-493.

View all 45 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Private Investigators and Public Speakers.Alexander Sandgren - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

We Are Acquainted with Ourselves.Matt Duncan - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (9):2531-2549.
Particulars and Acquaintance.Laird Addis - 1967 - Philosophy of Science 34 (3):251-259.
Thing-Ing and No-Thing in Heidegger, Kant, and Laozi.Qingjie James Wang - 2016 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 15 (2):159-174.
Meontological Generativity: A Daoist Reading of the Thing.David Chai - 2014 - Philosophy East and West 64 (2):303-318.
Two Russellian Arguments for Acquaintance.Matt Duncan - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (3):461-474.
Ex Captivitate Salus.Carl Schmitt - 1987 - Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 1987 (72):130-130.
The Transcendence of Sophia in Plotinus' Treatise on Intelligible Beauty.Daniele Bertini - 2007 - In Robert M. Berchman & John F. Finamore (eds.), Metaphysical Patterns in Platonism. University Press of the South. pp. 34-44.
How is the Arrival of Things Possible?Hua’nan Gong - 2008 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 3 (3):389-408.
When is One Thing Equalto Some Other Thing?Barry Mazur - 2008 - In Bonnie Gold & Roger Simons (eds.), Proof and Other Dilemmas: Mathematics and Philosophy. Mathematical Association of America. pp. 221.
Haecceities and Perceptual Identification.Gary Rosenkrantz - 1979 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 9 (1):107-119.


Added to PP index

Total views
339 ( #31,194 of 2,519,855 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
33 ( #26,508 of 2,519,855 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes