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Questions tagged [bertrand-russell]

Bertrand Russell (1872–1970) was a British philosopher and logician who is regarded as one of the founders of analytic philosophy and modern logic.

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Did Russell understand Gödel's incompleteness theorems?

Russell was active in philosophy (although no longer in math) for many years after the Gödel's 1931 publication. Gödel's paper were not obscure, and Russell would have been aware of their effect on ...
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8 answers
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Is it possible for something to have no cause?

Bertrand Rusell writes in his essay "Why I Am Not A Christian": There is no reason why the world could not have come into being without a cause; [...] Warren Rachelle, however, states in his ...
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How inaccurate is Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy?

I finished reading A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell a while ago. Not being an expert by any stretch I thought it was very good (informative, accessible, enjoyable etc..). But I have ...
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Why is Russell so critical of Aristotle?

In A History of Western Philosophy, Russell argues: I conclude that the Aristotelian doctrines with which we have been concerned in this chapter are wholly false, with the exception of the ...
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What are some good books about the history of philosophy in the 20th century?

I just read "The History of Western Philosophy" and liked it very much. I would like to now read a history that covers the span after Russell wrote the book, from 1940-present. Can anyone recommend a ...
skaz's user avatar
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What sources discuss Russell's response to Gödel's incompleteness theorems?

In his book My Philosophical Development Russell writes, In my introduction to the Tractatus, I suggested that, although in any given language there are things which that language cannot express, ...
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What is the axiom of reducibility? And what philosophical controversies did it incite?

Trying to come to terms with basics concerning philosophy of logic, and wish to ask about some particular issue: What is in simple words the axiom of reducibility put forward by Russell? And what is ...
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Logic, Russell, joke [closed]

There is a Russell impression with a joke on youtube, in which Russell puts the following questions to G. E. Moore: Do you have any apples in that basket? Do you have some apples in that basket? Do ...
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What did Russell mean when he wrote that the null-class, the class having no members, did not exist?

I am not quite sure I interpret the following sentence correctly in Bertrand Russell's paper on existential import: and among classes there is just one which does not exist, namely, the class having ...
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Why was Russell discontent with Wittgenstein's view on "logic as tautologies"?

While reading Logicomix, I came across a scene that I don't quite understand. Russell: ...Logicians are creating elaborate ways to "say the same things in different words"...this "...
Dimen's user avatar
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A Question Regarding Russell's Paradox

Consider the 'set' behind Russell's Paradox: R = { x | x is a set and x ∉ x } in light of Cantor's definition of set ("aggregate"/Menge) in his CONTRIBUTIONS TO ...
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Is there anything more fundamental than quantification?

In the prevailing view of the concept of "Existence," it is well-known that it isn't a property of individual objects, but rather a property of properties. As Frege would put it: It is a ...
Johnathan Green's user avatar
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Why isn't Cantor's diagonal argument just a paradox?

Cantor's diagonal argument concludes the cardinality of the power set of a countably infinite set is greater than that of the countably infinite set. In other words, the infiniteness of real numbers ...
nir's user avatar
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Defenses of Descartes's rationality in regards to "cogito" fallacy?

What philosophers and in what writings, if any, have attempted to explain or defend Descartes's rationalism in respect to the "cogito ergo sum" fallacy pointed out by philosophers like Russell, and ...
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How does Russell's argument for identity refute that of Wittgenstein's?

In My Philosophical Development Russell wrote, I come next to what Wittgenstein had to say about identity, which has an importance that may not be obvious at once. To explain this theory, I must ...
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How does Frege's definition of number solve the Julius Caesar problem?

How does Frege's definition of number solve the Julius Caesar problem? Frege's definition of number in the end of Foundation is such: the number belonging to the concept F is the extension of the ...
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What sentence convinced Russell that Wittgenstein was not a "complete idiot"?

On several occasions I've come across Russell's account of his decision that Wittgenstein was not a "complete idiot", but I've never been able to figure out what Wittgenstein wrote to him or what that ...
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What did Russell intend to achieve with "The Impact of Science on Society"?

I have been reading Russell's "The Impact of Science on Society" and I found it to be a very strange book. This book has become like a Bible to some conspiracy theorists, and I can see why. However, I ...
Ben's user avatar
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What were some of Russell's arguments against Kant's system of thought?

I just finished reading Bertrand Russell's 'A History of Western Philosophy', and while I thoroughly enjoyed the book and find Russell's own work quite interesting, his overview of Kant seemed a bit ...
shoul25's user avatar
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Is philosophy about organizing our ignorance?

I am interested in B. Russell's quote: Science is what we know; philosophy is what we don't know. What is he saying here in terms of a definition of philosophy? In his sense, is that correct to ...
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How might one counter Bertrand Russell's criticism of Stoicism as "not true" and "insincere"?

Reading about Stoicism, I have encountered a criticism to which I cannot form a strong counter-argument. Did anyone or can anyone provide a rebuttal to the following argument against Stoicism? ...
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What are the main errors of Bertrand Russell's A History of Western Philosophy?

This discussion of A History of Western Philosophy complains about its errors and omissions, but doesn't give examples of the former. A previous question asked "how inaccurate" Russell's book was, and ...
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Which problem is Russell focusing on while providing a solution, in his introduction to the Tractatus?

In the final part of his introduction to the Tractatus Logico-philosophicus, Russell provides a possible solution to the problem of the impossibility of self-reference of logic: There is one ...
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A question regarding the similarity of relations from Russell's Introduction to Mathematical Philsophy

I do not understand the basis of one of Russell's claims at the end of the chapter 'Similarity of Relations' in his Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy. I have taken an excerpt and emboldened the ...
lagrange103's user avatar
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715 views

What does Russell mean by "term" in Principles of Mathematics?

Bertrand Russell in Principles of Mathematics defines a term as "Whatever may be an object of thought, or may occur in any true or false proposition or can be counted as one." Can someone elaborate on ...
Mathmank's user avatar
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Why does Russell prohibit judgments based on knowledge by description?

I'm new to philosophy and have picked up Bertrand Russell's 'The Problems of Philosophy'. I have a question relating to the end of the chapter on 'Acquaintance and Description'. Russell states that we ...
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What is the difference between Aristotle's theory of categories and Russell's theory of types?

A partial answer might come through an introduction. Well, we know that Russell's efforts to understand the contradictory appearance of the class of all classes not members of themselves (a notion ...
Dallas-Rey Davis's user avatar
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Tractatus 3.333 and Russell's paradox

Can anyone explain to a non-logician how Tractatus 3.333 refutes (or fails to refute) Russell's Paradox? Please explain his use of symbols!
user3412574's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
551 views

What caused the turns from monism to dualism in Russell and Chalmers?

Why did Chalmers shift from idealism to dualism? And Russell from materialism to neutral monism? Edit: The particulars of Russell is recounted in A.C. Grayling's 'Russell: A Very Short Introduction' (...
gaberlunzie's user avatar
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What do logicists mean when they try to "reduce mathematics to logic"?

I've read a lot about Russell and other Logicism advocates and their trial to reduce math to logic. But what does that mean? We know that all known mathematics can be reduced to Set theory, is that ...
FNH's user avatar
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Understanding Bertrand Russell on agnosticism and atheism as self-descriptions

I came across this very interesting quote, but it is giving me some confusion. Since Russel was a philosopher I thought it was best to come to the Philosophy stack exchange. And this is by no means a ...
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5 votes
4 answers
1k views

Why are set theory and numbers important to philosophy?

I'm reading David Papineau's Philosophical Devices, and there's a section on numbers and set theory. But there's not deeper hint on why it's important to philosophy. I guess that in mathematics we ...
Red Banana's user avatar
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why Bertrand Russell's paradox had such a high impact and relevance?

The paradox of Bertrand Russell he formulated in 1918, I believe, has undermined the attempt to found mathematics on a strictly logical basis. I remember that an intuitive way of putting the paradox ...
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What did Wittgenstein (mean to) achieve in the Tractatus?

I read the Tractatus about a decade ago, and was impressed, both by it and I suppose myself! But suddenly I'm seriously wondering what the book has or could achieve. Not so much how it changed ...
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5 votes
4 answers
924 views

What justifies Russell's Law of Identity?

The Law of Identity by Bertrand Russell says Whatever is, is. It's hard to find any kind of justification on this statement. Why should this be true and what are the arguments for any opposite ...
user18475's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
524 views

Does Cogito ergo sum need to be more specific?

Something about my translation has bothered me since I originally posted my question (which follows below). It concerns what Bertrand Russell wrote in "On Denoting". Ryno indicated a circularity with ...
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5 votes
2 answers
1k views

Utilitarianism and Bertrand Russell

On an interview aired in 1959 Bertrand Russel, talking about religious beliefs said: "...it seems to me a fundamental dishonesty to hold a belief because is useful and not because is true." The open ...
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1 answer
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Why didn't Thales say the water is principle of matter, but the originating principle, according to Russell?

If I remember Russells Short History of Western Philosophy correctly, Russell unequivocally maintains that Thales was the first philosopher of note. He said: The world is made of water Russell ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
108 views

Is Russell's "(im)predicativity" terminology related to (or even derived from) Kant's "existence is not a predicate" argument?

I'm a mathematician who's generally ignorant of philosophy, so forgive me if my question is a bit sloppy. I'm really trying to ask about a historical connection/context. I recently encountered the ...
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1 answer
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Why does Russell's writing suggest that Kant was right about mathematics being synthetic a priori?

As I was reading "The problems of philosophy" by Bertrand Russell I got the impression that Kant was right and Hume was wrong in the case of a priori knowledge of synthetic mathematic nature and I'm ...
VostanMinor's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
200 views

What is the “intended project” in Appendix B of Principia Mathematica?

In Linsky's The Evolution of Principia Mathematica it is written, Chapter 6 studies in detail the content of Appendix B, On induction. The appendix consists of a technical proof that even without ...
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5 votes
1 answer
179 views

Responses to the bricklayer critique of Dewey's definition of Inquiry

Apparently, Russell and Dewey had a very provocative debate in the philosophical literature of their time. Unfortunately I am only familiar with Russell's side of the debate, and want to learn more ...
Artem Kaznatcheev's user avatar
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2 answers
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Is a set containing itself already a paradox?

This is inspired by Russel's paradox stating there is not set of all sets. It uses the presupposition that set can contain itself. However, this already seems paradoxical. Suppose a set A = {}. Then ...
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How could Wittgenstein not rule out that there was a rhinoceros in the living room?

I read a graphic novel called "Logicomix" years ago and have wondered this ever since.
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4 votes
1 answer
239 views

Where does Bertrand Russell discuss mysticism?

G. E. M. Anscombe writes in An Introduction to Wittgenstein's Tractatus (1971, St Augustine's Press) the following about Wittgenstein's use of the concept of mysticism: (page 170) But Wittgenstein ...
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Does Wittgensteins own solution to Russells Paradox actually work?

In the Tractatus, Wittgenstein attempts a solution of Russells paradox 3.333 A function cannot be its own argument, because the functional sign already contains the prototype of its own argument and ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
162 views

Recommendations for reading in Russell's Mathematical Philosophy

I am looking for any suggestions for research-level survey articles that expose Russell's type theory (in the context of his philosophy of mathematics). Of particular interest are: Russell's reasons ...
Mathmo's user avatar
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What does the type theory in the Principia Mathematica and that of contemporary logic have in common?

The SEP entry on second order or higher logic in passing say that countable order logic is type theory. My impression that this is the type theory of the Principia (I may be wrong here). There is ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
194 views

Logical analysis under Russell's theory of definite descriptions

My question stems from the two different logical forms for the following sentence under Russell's analysis. One in which the word 'not' has a wide scope and one where it has a narrow scope. The ...
Anon's user avatar
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1 answer
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Do Alexius Meinong's impossible worlds describe all impossible worlds/things? [duplicate]

Does his impossible worlds category include (and can describe) literally all impossible things/worlds? Inconsistencies, paradoxes, impossible solutions to problems (and impossible problems); really ...
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