On Whether ‘God’ is a Proper Name

  • Michael Durrant
Part of the New Studies in the Philosophy of Religion book series (NSPR)


I shall first investigate whether ‘God’ is a proper name, for if the answer to this question is in the affirmative then sentences of the form ‘God is F’ can be said to express propositions of a subject-predicate type, for whilst it is not a necessary condition of an expression being able to occur as a logical subject, introducing a subject of predication, that such an expression is a proper name, it is a sufficient condition.


Spatial Position Definite Description Personal Pronoun Propositional Function Common Sense View 
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Notes and References

  1. Cf. P. T. Geach, ‘Good and Evil’, Analysis vol. 17 (1956) pp. 34–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. G. E. M. Anscombe and P. T. Geach, Three Philosophers (Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1961) p. 8.Google Scholar
  3. P. T. Geach, Reference and Generality ( Cornell University Press, New York, 1962 ) p. 39.Google Scholar
  4. G. E. M. Anscombe, An Introduction to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus. (Hutchinson University Library, London, 1959) p. 41.Google Scholar
  5. See ‘On Denoting’ reprinted in R. C. Marsh (ed.), Bertrand Russell — Logic and Knowledge (George Allen & Unwin, London, 1956).Google Scholar
  6. In Basil Mitchell (ed.), Faith and Logic (George Allen & Unwin, London, 1957) pp. 9–30.Google Scholar
  7. Cf. also H. H. Farmer, Towards Belief in God (S.C.M., Press, London 1942).Google Scholar
  8. Cf. H. H. Farmer Revelation and Religion (James Nisbet & Co., Welwyn, 1954);Google Scholar
  9. Martin Bubert I and Thou (T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1937);Google Scholar
  10. Emil Brunner The Divine — Human Encounter (S.C.M. Press, London, 1944).Google Scholar
  11. L. Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, trans. G. E. M. Anscombe (Blackwell, Oxford, 1953).Google Scholar
  12. Cf. Norman Malcolm, ‘Anselm’s Ontological Arguments’, reprinted in D. Z. Phillips (ed.) Religion and Understanding (Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1967) p. 47.Google Scholar
  13. Cf. G. Frege, Foundations of Arithmetic, p. 59; also ‘On Concept and Object’ in P. Geach and M. Black, Philosophical Writings of Gottlob Frege (Basil Blackwell, Oxford 1952) pp. 42–55.Google Scholar
  14. R. Rhees, Without Answers (Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1969) pp. 128–9.Google Scholar
  15. J. Blakey, Intermediate Pure Mathematics (Cleaver-Hume Press, London, 1953) p. 1.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael Durrant 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Durrant
    • 1
  1. 1.University CollegeCardiffUK

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