chapter  6
Russell and Frege compared
Pages 44

The comparison between Russell’s and Frege’s views on singular reference has become inseparable from the exposition of those views themselves. A century after they were first set forth, the theory of descriptions and the sense/reference distinction remain such towering paradigms in philosophical logic and the philosophy of language that much of the subsequent discussions of these subjects may well be characterized (in the fashion of Whitehead’s dictum concerning Plato’s place in Western philosophy) as a series of footnotes to Frege’s and Russell’s seminal work. Most comparative discussions address themselves squarely to Russell’s theory of descriptions and Frege’s sense/ reference distinction, and this is understandable in view of these being their most mature and final positions; but one more theory of Russell’s, the PoM theory, and at least one more of Frege’s, the Bs. view, ought to be involved in this comparison (I say ‘at least’ because one might also count the description operator in Gg.). Though not all pairs consisting of one Russellian and one Fregean theory make for an equally instructive comparison, our choice of which theories to compare calls for some justification, and focusing exclusively on the theory of descriptions and sense/reference distinction pair should not, without further ado, be regarded as the only way to proceed.