Russell's On Denoting and Frege's On Sense and Reference are now widely held to be two of the founding papers of twentieth century philosophy and form the heart of the famous "linguistic turn". They have generated a wealth of secondary literature and remain at the forefront of contemporary discussion in philosophy of language, thought and logic. The Metaphysicians of Meaning is the first book to challenge the accepted understanding of these two seminal papers. It forces us to reconsider contemporary approaches to the semantics of proper names and definite descriptions through a historically sensitive and original interpretation of Russell's and Frege's work on meaning. Gideon Makin compares the work Russell did shortly before his famous essay "On Denoting" with the essay itself and argues that this comparison shows that the traditional view of the problem Russell was trying to solve is untenable. Makin then examines Frege's classic essay and argues that some of the less well-known views that Frege held have radical implications for our understanding of this essay. The Metaphysicians of Meaning presents novel metaphorical insights into Russell and Frege.
It will be essential reading for those studying philosophy of language and logic.
Gideon Makin is Lecturer of Philosophy at the Open University, Tel Aviv, and Research Fellow at Wolfson College, University of Oxford.