Twardowski and Russel on non-existent entities, truth, and prediction. A comparative study

: 111-116
Received: September 09, 2017
Accepted: October 10, 2017
University of Bucarest

My aim in this paper is to offer a historical reconstruction of two alternative theories about truth and predication starting from the topic of non-existent entities. Following Brentano, Twardowski has developed, just as Husserl and Meinong did, a theory of intentionality based on the assumption that in a presentation the idea (the content) from the mind is related to its object by the so-called “intentional nexus” (this expression was proposed by Grossmann) without an ontological commitment regarding the existence of the object. The intentional nexus is able to put into a close relation a mental entity, the content and the object (something without an ontological statute).

Russell was explicitly concerned to find an alternative to Meinong’s argument starting from his epistemological preference for direct realism and a correspondence theory of truth. He has developed initially a theory about denoting concepts but without expected results. Russell accepted that some concepts have a denotative meaning although they don’t denote anything. Then he turned from mind to language and proposed the theory of definite descriptions. He extracted the deep logical structure from linguistic expressions which seem to denote something, and he developed a logical theory which was able to solve the problem regarding denotative expressions as “the present king of France”.

Twardowski claims that the definition of a truth presupposes a particular perspective on the essence of judgment. Therefore, Twardowski’s critique is centered both on Russell’s correspondence definition of truth and on multiple realization theory proposed in The Problems of Philosophy. He argues that judging isn’t a relation, but only something which occurs in our mind, more exactly, judging is an activity. In Twardowski’s terms, the decision to take a trip is not a relation between the mind that decides and the taking of the trip. Twardowski asserts that judgments, not the sentences which express them, are truth bearers. He found a middle way between psychologism and Platonism in logic and epistemology.

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