2.43 Denoting

Category: Philosophy of Language

Keywords: denoting, frege, russell, meinong, denotation, geach, names, acquaintance, name, denotes, france, denote, fregean, king, star

Number of Articles: 389
Percentage of Total: 1.2%
Rank: 34th

Weighted Number of Articles: 317.3
Percentage of Total: 1%
Rank: 45th

Mean Publication Year: 1976.7
Weighted Mean Publication Year: 1973
Median Publication Year: 1977
Modal Publication Year: 1978

Topic with Most Overlap: Ordinary Language (0.0445)
Topic this Overlaps Most With: Sense and Reference (0.0414)
Topic with Least Overlap: Medical Ethics and Freud (0.00019)
Topic this Overlaps Least With: Liberal Democracy (0.00022)


Figure 2.102: Denoting

Denoting Articles in Each Journal

Figure 2.103: Denoting Articles in Each Journal


It’s basically On Denoting.

Mind reprinted On Denoting for its 100th anniversary, and the model provides slightly different probabilities for it. Partially this is because this is a non-deterministic model, and partially it’s because there was a little bit of editorial introduction that made it into the 2005 text.

Some of the papers in here are best thought of as history papers. This is one of the challenges with these topics from early analytic work. We’re covering such a long range that we include papers that were not at all history papers, like say On Denoting, as well as historical work on those papers. But I think it makes much more sense to call this a history topic.

On Denoting is one of the most important papers in the history of analytic philosophy, so it makes sense that it would be a topic of its own, that its importance would be recognised immediately, and that it would lead the citation counts. Except only the first of those three things is true.

You do see a bit of attention paid to it in 1911 and 1912 - there is an important exchange between Russell and Emily Elizabeth Constance Jones - but then it is basically invisible from the start of World War One to the end of World War Two. This pattern, Russell writes a super important paper but it only gets proper attention decades later, will repeat itself a bit, though this is the paradigm case.

And I was a little surprised which papers are cited more often than On Denoting. According to Google, at least, What Is It Like to Be a Bat? has twice its citations. What Is It Like to Be a Bat? is an important paper too, but still this was a bit of a shock.