Russell, negative facts, and ontology

Philosophy of Science 47 (3):434-455 (1980)
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Russell's introduction of negative facts to account for the truth of "negative" sentences or beliefs rests on his collaboration with Wittgenstein in such efforts as the characterization of formal necessity, the theory of logical atomism, and the use of the Ideal Language. In examining their views we arrive at two conclusions. First, that the issue of negative facts is distinct from questions of meaning or intentionality; what a sentence or belief means or is about rather than what makes it true or false. Second, that the ontological use of the Ideal Language is incompatible with the requirements of its employment in the logical study of inferences. On this basis we conclude that despite elaborations by recent proponents, the doctrine of negative facts lacks adequate support, and perhaps more importantly, it is proper ontological method to free the Ideal Language from the exigencies of a symbolism constructed for logical investigation



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L. Nathan Oaklander
University of Michigan - Flint

Citations of this work

Presentism, Ontology and Temporal Experience.L. Nathan Oaklander - 2002 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 50:73-90.
A Checklist of Theses and Dissertations on Bertrand Russell.Carl Spadoni - 1984 - Russell: The Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies 4 (2):289.

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References found in this work

Tractatus logico-philosophicus.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1922 - Filosoficky Casopis 52:336-341.
The Problems of Philosophy.Bertrand Russell - 1912 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 21 (1):22-28.
Some Main Problems of Philosophy.George Edward Moore - 1956 - Philosophy 31 (119):362-366.

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