Can denotation be absent in denoting phrase?
‘’One of the first difficulties that confront us, when we adopt the view that denoting phrases express meaning and denote a denotation, concerns the cases in which the denotation appears to be absent.’’ Russell states that if we say ‘the King of England is bald’ this sentence is about the actual man that is being talked about, referred to by the meaning, not the complicated structural meaning of ‘the King of England’. Same as before, if we were to talk about the ‘present King of France’ again, the sentence being solely about the denotation of the phrase, we come across a problem as although the sentence makes sense, has meaning, it does not have a referring object given the absence of such a person. Therefore, ‘the present King of France’ cannot be right. If we were to explain this further, Law of Excluded Middle, of Russell says that for every meaningful sentence, either it or its negation is true. Now, if we reconsider the sentence ‘the present King of France’, and because this sentence is false, we can apply the Law of Excluded Middle and say ‘it is not the case that there exists a present King of France’ is true. Russell also thinks that logic demands that the Law of Excluded Middle be upheld, so there’s a problem with thinking of phrases as such, as singular terms. Overall, we can say that definite descriptions have problems with sentences that don’t exist. Which in my opinion is a solution that is not always true because if we have a sentence that is conditional, and we apply the Law of Excluded Middle, things can get a little tricky. For example, if there is a sentence that says, ‘If it rains tomorrow (p), I will go for a jog (q)’. But in the event of the raining not happening tomorrow (p), then the whole conditional sentence is considered to be true. This is because the consequent of the sentence completely depends on the preceding circumstance, event of the given statement. Therefore, I can say that, the principle of the excluded middle has exceptions.