An examination of the work of three major figures in the development of analytic philosophy, paying special attention to their views on the nature of language, logic, and logicism. Topics include:
- Russell's anti-idealism, his logicism, his conception of the proposition,
Russell’s paradox and his attempts to resolve it, and
the famous “theory of descriptions”;
- Frege's distinction between sense and reference, the “concept horse problem,” Frege's logicism;
- the early Wittgenstein's critiques of Russell and Frege, his logical atomism, his picture theory of the proposition, his views on the inexpressibility of logical category distinctions and the nature of nonsense.
Since there is some small amount of mathematical content in the course, a prerequisite is PHIL 303 or an equivalent course in symbolic logic. There will be two papers and an in-class writing exercise.