Philosophical Studies

, Volume 174, Issue 11, pp 2819–2843 | Cite as

Russellianism unencumbered

  • Mark McCullaghEmail author


Richard Heck, Jr. has recently (in “Intuition and the substitution argument,” Analytical Philosophy 2014) reconfigured the debate over Russellianism about proper names. Sidestepping the usual argument, which concerns “intuitions” about substitutions within “that”-clauses, he proposes a new argument based on the claims that (i) beliefs are individuated by their psychological roles and (ii) ordinary language has belief-specifying locutions that reflect that individuation. Focusing on (ii) I argue that contrary to what Heck claims, “that”-clause ascriptions are not the only candidates. In fact there are much better candidates: ascriptions involving direct quotations. I explain how the proposal is novel (it avoids the usual problems with such ascriptions) and how it answers the requirements of Heck’s argument. More broadly what Heck’s argument brings out is the diversity of resources ordinary language has for specifying beliefs; a defense of Russellianism needn’t rest entirely on claims about “that”-clause ascriptions.


Belief ascription Russellianism Quotation 



I’m more than usually grateful to an anonymous referee, who prompted significant improvements to the discussion in § 6.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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