**Russell (Frege) and the metaphysics of propositions, properties, and relations**

Many recent questions about the nature of propositions, properties, and relations have their origin in, or at least a perspicuous formulation in, Russell’s work. Our aim in this seminar is to give an introduction to some of these issues that is, at once, both historically sensitive and engaged with cutting-edge metaphysics.

Issues discussed include: 1) The nature of relations and relational complexes: is there a difference between the *shorter-than* relation and the *longer-than* relation? Is the state-of-affairs of Litland being taller than his brother distinct from the state-of-affairs of his brother being shorter than him? 2) What is the relation between propositions and the acts of judging them? 3) Russell’s paradox 4) The Russell-Myhill Paradox. A natural view of propositions holds that two propositions *Fa *and *Gb *are identical if the properties *F,G *are identical and the objects *a.b *are identical. But the **appendix B **paradox (now known as the Russell-Myhill paradox) seems to show that this is impossible. Indeed, it raises a deep problem for any view that treats propositions as structured entities, such as those advocated by, e.g, Soames, Salmon, and Speaks. It also creates problems for hylomorphic accounts of material objects. 5) Logical atomism, including Russell’s theory of descriptions, the theory of so-called ‘incomplete symbols’, and the contemporary reaction against this theory. 6) Propositions, judgments, and ‘logical assertion’, in Kant, Frege, and Russell. 7) Frege’s concept *horse *paradox and recent work in higher-order metaphysics 8) The nature of the variable and recent work on variable (arbitrary, generic) objects 9) the Identity theory of Truth. 10) Russell’s three puzzles (and Kant’s anticipation of one of them).

**Texts:**

Russell’s *The Principles of Mathematics*, ‘On Denoting’, Frege ‘On Concept and Object, *Posthumous Writings*

Articles by: Susanne Bobzien, Kit Fine, Tim Williamson, Maegan Fairchild, Scott Soames, Joop Leo, Charles Parsons, Jeremy Goodman, Andrew Bacon, Fraser Macbride, John Myhill, Harold Hodes, Peter Fritz, Kevin Klement, Peter Sullivan, Michael Potter, Ian Proops, Agustin Rayo among others.

Students will be required to make 10-15 minute presentation (with a handout) of the main idea of their seminar paper.

Students will be required to write one seminar paper of 20-25 pages due at the end of the department-approved writing period.

*This seminar satisfies the ***Metaphysics & Epistemology*** requirement.*