At some point someone asked Bertrand Russell about formal logical language without distinctions of type. (I think it might have been Quine, who was developing for example kinds of algebraic logic that had only relations and not even variables over individuals).

Russell replied that he was unable to conceive of such a language and then some words to the effect of: This does not answer the question, but puts an end to my ability of discussing it. I do not put that in quote marks since it is likely not a verbatim quote. That is the quote I would like to relocate.

This is like Russell's replies to Godel in The Philosophy of Bertrand Russell (Library of Living Philosophers, Vol. 5). By the time of that volume Russell had been away from formal logic for about two decades. He was happy to believe there had been progress on it, and happy to say he was not following that progress. I do not now find the quote in that book but it might be there with me missing it.

  • A long shot but if it was Quine, they had correspondence. Some of that is published in the book "The Search for Mathematical Roots, 1870-1940", also Quine's short article "Logical Correspondence with Russell" is online, but nothing about types in that.
    – Johannes
    Mar 31, 2022 at 5:38


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