13 votes

Why is Russell so critical of Aristotle?

The history of ideas and the history of philosophy is a world riddled with boogeymen versions of certain philosophers. Some of the more common historical boogeymen are "Plato", "Aristotle", "...
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12 votes

Understanding Bertrand Russell on agnosticism and atheism as self-descriptions

The quotation is incomplete and Russell's thought is cut off right in the middle. The full quote by Russell continues thus: "… None of us would seriously consider the possibility that all the ...
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  • 5,262
12 votes

Why is Russell so critical of Aristotle?

I think Russell is fairly clear in this passage --his gripe is not so much with Aristotle, but with how (in his opinion) Aristotelian thought continued to dominate the fields of science, philosophy, ...
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11 votes
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What is the axiom of reducibility? And what philosophical controversies did it incite?

To put it in simple words we have to describe in a couple of words the project of Principia Mathematica, which Russell inherited from Frege: reconstructing mathematics from logic alone. For a broader ...
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11 votes
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Is a set containing itself already a paradox?

Russell's paradox arises within naïve set theory by considering the set of all sets that are not members of themselves. Such a set appears to be a member of itself if and only if it is not a member of ...
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10 votes
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What sentence convinced Russell that Wittgenstein was not a "complete idiot"?

Welcome TCP Russell doesn't so far as I'm aware tell us what the subject was of the 'something' he asked or invited Wittgenstein to write - perhaps he left the topic entirely to Wittenstein. Nor does ...
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9 votes

Logic, Russell, joke

Very funny gag. I don't wish to ruin the gag for others, so hover over the block quote to reveal :
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  • 3,407
9 votes
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How does Frege's definition of number solve the Julius Caesar problem?

Here is some historical context. In Grundlagen der Arithmetik (1884) Frege introduced his ill-fated Axiom V, now known as the axiom of unrestricted comprehension: every predicate defines a class of ...
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  • 40.7k
8 votes

Why is Russell so critical of Aristotle?

Regarding specifically Russell's attitude towards Aristotle's logic, I have come to wonder if in the course of a justified complaint about an enormous time span of intellectual stagnation, Russell ...
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8 votes

Logic, Russell, joke

To me, this sounds like a set-theory joke resting on existence of the "empty set". "Some apples" might be taken to ask whether, in the set of apples in your basket, are there multiple elements. "...
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  • 181
8 votes

Can paraconsistent or other logics make the impossible happen?

Logic, paraconsistent or not, does not exactly make something happen, it is applied to reshuffle information already contained in a system. Paraconsistent logic does not even have to be applied to ...
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  • 40.7k
8 votes
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Why was Russell discontent with Wittgenstein's view on "logic as tautologies"?

Wittgenstein was reviving Kant's old view that logical deduction only brings out what is implicitly thought in the premises. Of course, Kant had in mind Aristotle's term logic, which is roughly ...
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7 votes

Did Russell understand Gödel's incompleteness theorems?

Russell's comments on Gödel were scanty, but it was very unlikely that Russell did not understand what Gödel was talking about. The paradox presented by Gödel sentence was nothing new; it was the same ...
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7 votes
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Why was Russell's theory of descriptions taken seriously?

Russell's theory of definite descriptions is primarily concerned with denoting phrases (e.g. "the present king of France"), which are linguistic expressions that purport to refer to some object. The ...
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  • 6,435
7 votes

Is philosophy about organizing our ignorance?

"A man might say, with enough truth to justify a joke: 'Science is what we know, and philosophy is what we don’t know.'" -Bertrand Russell “Philosophy for Laymen” Universities Quarterly 1 (Nov 1946), ...
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7 votes

What are the main errors of Bertrand Russell's A History of Western Philosophy?

I can offer one example, which I take from Isaiah Berlin concerning Russell's treatment of Kant's doctrine of space and time. This treatment, Berlin suggests, profoundly miscontrues the central ...
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6 votes

Why isn't Cantor's diagonal argument just a paradox?

There is no justification for one or the other. Russell's paradox is a paradox if you believe** in unrestricted comprehension (for each P there is a set {x | P}), or at least if you believe** that ...
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6 votes

Did Russell understand Gödel's incompleteness theorems?

As mentioned in a comment, Alasdair Urquhart has written a paper, Russell and Gödel (Bull. Symb. Logic 22 (2016), 504–520), that discusses a number of different topics, including Russell’s view of ...
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6 votes
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How does Russell's argument for identity refute that of Wittgenstein's?

The key point is the sentence:"Even if this proposition is never true, it is nevertheless significant", I italicized "significant", as Russell does in his text. Russell is talking about manipulating ...
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6 votes
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What does Russell mean by "term" in Principles of Mathematics?

The answer already given by user3451767 is not in my view correct. Logical atomism characterizes Russell's work from roughly 1910-1925. POM was published in 1903. There are many differences between ...
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6 votes

A question regarding the similarity of relations from Russell's Introduction to Mathematical Philsophy

He says: it is often said that space and time are subjective, but they have objective counterparts; or that phenomena are subjective, but are caused by things in themselves, which must have ...
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6 votes

Why was Russell discontent with Wittgenstein's view on "logic as tautologies"?

As a matter of terminology, some logicians use 'tautology' as a synonym for a logical truth, while others restrict it to logical truths of the propositional calculus. I shall use the more general term ...
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  • 15.5k
5 votes

How inaccurate is Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy?

From Bertrand Russell's autobiography, page 444: I was pleased to be writing this history because I had always believed that history should be written in the large. I had always held, for ...
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  • 420
5 votes
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What did Wittgenstein (mean to) achieve in the Tractatus?

There is a heated controversy as to what Wittgenstein tried to achieve in the Tractatus and whether he achieved it. Wittgenstein's own retrospect of the book is rather ambivalent, see Kuusela's ...
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  • 40.7k
5 votes

How does Frege's definition of number solve the Julius Caesar problem?

In a nutshell, the issue arises from the definition of number of as a second-order concept (i.e. a numerical quantifier) in Die Grundlagen der Arithmetik (1884). Consider e.g. 0xϕ(x)=df Card[xy] (y ≠ ...
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5 votes

What is going on with Russell's "beauty cold and austere" of mathematics?

Belated and subjective, but I had an answer that didn't appear in the comments so I thought I'd mention it: The beauty of mathematics is cold and austere because of how dreadfully, terrifyingly ...
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5 votes

How did Wittgenstein become interested in the philosophy of language?

There were not "conversion" at all, but a progressive involvment with logic and language. For historical evidence, see e.g. Letter to B.Russell [Nov.1913], with refernce to Bedeutung [reference] (a ...
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5 votes
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Source of a Russell quote about purpose and meaninglessness

With further searching I found the answer in Hugh S. Moorhead's The Meaning of Life, page 164-165. The quote comes from a letter to Hugh Moorhead from Bertrand Russell on January 10, 1952. Moorhead ...
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5 votes
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Where does Bertrand Russell discuss mysticism?

From Russel's Mysticism and Logic Introduction Metaphysics has been developed, from the first, by the union and conflict of two very different human impulses, the one urging men towards mysticism, ...
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