Russell. N.s. Vol. 28, no. 1. Summer 2008

Russell: the Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies is published by The Bertrand Russell Research Centre, McMaster University. For ordering information, including prices, see the back issues table.

Editor's Notes
Stephen Mumford“Russell’s Defence of Idleness”
ABSTRACT: Russell has a famous defence of idleness. But I argue that he was not supporting idleness as such. Russell valued the active and productive life. He was instead attacking overwork and defending leisure, where such leisure is used productively to contribute to civilization. This paper offers a critique of Russell’s argument on the grounds that it is difficult to sustain a distinction between activities that do and do not contribute to civilization. The questions are then addressed of whether purely inactive idleness can be defended, whether it would be sensible to follow Russell’s advocated work pattern, and whether work is always something bad.
Sylvia Nickerson and Nicholas Griffin“Russell, Clifford, Whitehead and Differential Geometry”
ABSTRACT: When Russell was fifteen, he was given a copy of W.K. Clifford’s The Common Sense of the Exact Sciences (1886). Russell later recalled reading it immediately “with passionate interest and with an intoxicating delight in intellectual clarification”. Why then, when Russell wrote An Essay on the Foundations of Geometry (1897), did he choose to defend spaces of homogeneous curvature as a priori? Why was he almost completely silent thereafter on the subject of Clifford, and his writings on geometry and space? We suggest that Russell may have avoided Clifford’s hypothesis that space had heterogeneous curvature because it seemed impossible to reconcile a coherent theory of measurement with a space of variable curvature. Whitehead objected to Einstein’s general theory of relativity on this basis, formulating an alternate theory that preserved the constant curvature of space and, therefore, a familiar sense of measurement. After Einstein’s general theory, Russell chose to distance himself from the position he argued in the Essay.
Brett Lintott“Russell’s Aborted Book on Fascism”
ABSTRACT: In December 1933 Russell initiated a new project that by late 1934 was under the working title “The Revolt Against Reason”. It was to be a book that analyzed the intellectual and cultural ancestry of fascism. It was never completed, yet Russell left us many fascinating textual artifacts that give us some sense of what he intended to do. Three documents of special importance are presented in their full form in this paper. These documents, together with the work he did publish on fascism and also the books Power and A History of Western Philosophy, demonstrate that Russell was an insightful thinker on the topic. His analysis placed him outside the major interpretations of fascism in the interwar period.
Kenneth Blackwell“Recent Acquisitions”
Russell WahlReview of Jérôme Sackur, Formes et faits: Analyse et théorie de la connaissance dans l’atomisme logique
Michael D. StevensonReview of Stefan Collini, Absent Minds: Intellectuals in Britain
Louis GreenspanReview of Christopher Stray, ed. Gilbert Murray Reassessed: Hellenism, Theatre, and International Politics
Chad TrainerReview of Huw Price and Richard Corry, eds., Causation, Physics, and the Constitution of Reality: Russell’s Republic Revisited
Graham StevensReview of Keith Green, Bertrand Russell, Language and Linguistic Theory
K.E. GarayReview of Damon Franke, Modernist Heresies: British Literary History, 1883–1924

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