Dan Everett commented on my post about Russell’s question, “How shall we describe the logical form of a belief?”, giving his take on Russell’s analysis of the example, “Othello believes Desdemona loves Cassio”.
- The most interesting aspect of such constructions from my perspective is that embedding is unnecessary for the reading. In Piraha you can get independent clauses expressing the same thing. Or even in English. Othello believes something. That something is that Desdemona loves Cassio. So the advantage of Peircean graphs (and later of Discourse Representation Theory) is that the syntactic feature of embedding is not crucial. Just as in larger discourse of multiple independent sentences.
I added the following observations.
Russell asks, “How shall we describe the logical form of a belief?” The question is a good one, maybe too good, loaded with a surplus of meanings for “logical form”. Read in the spectrum of interpretive lights traditional schools of thought have brought to bear on it, “logical form” hovers between the poles of objective form and syntactic form without ever settling down. A more stable fix on its practical sense can be gained from the standpoint staked out by Peirce on the basis of the pragmatic maxim, aiming at objective structure and seeing syntactic structure as accessory to that aim.
To be continued …
- Bertrand Russell, “The Philosophy of Logical Atomism”, pp. 35–155 in The Philosophy of Logical Atomism, edited with an introduction by David Pears, Open Court, La Salle, IL, 1985. First published 1918.