What is the problem of Russell’s proposal?
But, with the allowance of singular terms also referring to non-existent objects, as long as there is some object referred to by an ordinary proper name as well as a definite description, there are no big problems as to assume that sentences containing them can be meaningful. Even the object we are talking about does not exist. At the same time, by allowing this, Russell proposes that we automatically drop ST2 and stop applying it. BUT, this solution of the law of existential statements is not very satisfactory. If we get our focus back to the example of ‘the present King of France is bald’, we might say that this imaginary object that we have in our minds is bald or not bald yet the problem with the phrase ‘the King of France’ is that it is difficult to see that there is even any specific non-existent object it refers to. But we do not think this; ‘that man, the King of France, does not exist’, we simply think ‘There is no such person as the King of France’. And this remains to be a problem even after Russell’s ‘solution’. Moreover, in ‘on Denoting’ Russell seems to have regarded any theory which supposed that there could be such things as committed to obvious contradictions: he thought it would need to say both that such things exist and that they do not exist. In the chapter on descriptions in his later work, Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy, he is more cautious but almost as dismissive. He says, ‘’there is a failure of that feeling for reality which ought to be preserved even in the most abstract studies’’.