Philosophy

Do one of these. Remember, you need to do two of the three writing assignments overall, but everybody must do this one. These are essays, not research papers; you typically shouldn’t need to cite anything but the assigned readings. Don’t hesitate to use quotations and citations from those texts when appropriate to support your claims and interpretations. Essays should be approximately 1000 words long. See the paper submission rules below or on the syllabus for instructions on submitting papers; please follow those rules carefully.
Please review and follow the paper submission rules below before submitting your paper.
1. Explain Russell’s analysis of his “George IV wondered whether Scott was the Author of Waverley” puzzle. Then, present what you see as the best analysis of the puzzle from a Fregean position, and evaluate the dispute. Which analysis do you think is better? Why?
2. Briefly summarize some central difference between the views of Russell and Frege on “substitutivity salva veritate”, paying particular attention to the use of substitutivity in intensional (or indirect quotation) contexts. Which view is better? Why?
3. What is the “uniqueness” condition for statements of the form “the F is G” set by Russell’s Theory of Descriptions? What is the most serious worry about this requirement in your view? What’s the best Russellian response to that worry? Adjudicate.
4. I suggested in class that one worry about the Theory of Descriptions is that it misses an important distinction between (a) what is claimed or asserted by someone, and (b) what is just presupposed by them. Briefly explain this difference and why it might be seen as a problem for Russell’s view; give the best Russellian response to it you can; and evaluate the disagreement.
5. Explain in general (as opposed to in terms of considerations about the “puzzle cases”) why Russell thinks we must re-analyze sentences with apparent subject-predicate grammatical structure (like “The present King of France is wise”) into “logical forms” which are really existentially quantified statements instead. What reasons does he have for this? What further consequences do those motivations have for his analysis of language? And what is the best resistance to these motivations available to Frege? Evaluate.
6. Clearly explain the three different roles played for Frege by the role of sense (or sinn). Then, give the best reason you can think of for claiming that at least two of those roles won’t be played by the same thing. Critically evaluate that reason.
7. What’s the relationship between (a) Frege’s solution to the puzzle of identity and to the lack of substitutivity of coreferential descriptions in contexts of “indirect quotation”, and (b) his commitment to the idea that the reference of the whole sentence must be a function of the reference of its parts? Does this relationship support or argue against his solutions, in you view? Why or why not?
8. How does the lack of substitutivity of coreferential expressions in cases like the “George IV wondering…” example push Russell to not allowing logical names for anything but things we know “by acquaintance”? Should it have this consequence? Why or why not?
Paper submission rules:
• All papers must be submitted as documents attached to a piece of e-mail addressed to me at ron@albany.edu.
• Electronic documents sent to me need to be saved in the format known as RTF (“Rich Text Format”; almost all word processors will save and load RTF) or as a Microsoft Word “.DOCX” file. Please, no other proprietary format, and no PDFs.
• Name the file you send to me as “Q1A1_Lastname_Firstname_315.rtf”, substituting your name in for “Lastname_Firstname”, and the appropriate assignment and question numbers in place of “A1” and “Q1”. So, for example: Assignment #2 written on Question 3 from undergraduate student Eric Cartman should be named “Q3A2_Cartman_Eric_315.rtf”.
• Format papers simply, single-spaced, with your name, the assignment and question number, a word count, and any title you might give to the paper at the top of the first page. Don’t use a separate title page. Please make the text font 12pt Times-Roman, the left margin 1”, and the right margin 2.5” (leaving room for comments on the right).
• Put the name of the file in the subject line of the email; put “here’s my paper #1 for Philosophy 315” in the message body; attach the file; and when you send it, please cc: yourself to make sure everything worked OK.
• Late papers are marked down by one grade notch (e.g. B to B or B- to C+) for every hour or portion thereof I receive them after the due date and time.

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