Russell. N.s. Vol. 32, no. 1. Summer 2012

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
I. Grattan-Guinness“Logic, Topology and Physics: Points of Contact between Bertrand Russell and Max Newman”
ABSTRACT: This article reviews the interactions between Russell and the English mathematician Max Newman. The most substantial one occurred in 1928, when Newman published some penetrating criticisms of Russell’s philosophy of science, and followed up with two long letters to Russell on logical knowledge and on the potential use of topology in physics. The exchange, which opened up some issues in Russell’s philosophy that he did not fully cope with either at the time or later, is transcribed here. Their joint involvements with the Royal Society of London are also recorded.
Ray Perkins, Jr.“Was Russell’s 1922 Error Theory a Mistake?”
ABSTRACT: Recent Russell scholarship has made clear the importance of Russell’s contributions to ethical theory. But his provocative two-page 1922 paper, “Is There an Absolute Good?”, anticipating by two decades what has come to be called “error theory”, is still little known and not fully understood by students of Russell’s ethics. In that little paper, never published in Russell’s lifetime, he criticizes the “absolutist” view of G.E. Moore; and, with the help of his own 1905 theory of descriptions, he exposes what he takes to be the fallacy underlying Moore’s (and his own earlier) arguments regarding value judgments and puts forward a new analysis which preserves the “absolutist” meaning at the cost of rendering all value judgments false. This article attempts to: (1) make clear just what Russell was doing in his little paper and how to understand it in the evolution of his metaethical thinking, (2) defend his 1922 theory against some recent criticisms, and (3) suggest the most likely reasons why he so quickly abandoned his new theory.
Gülberk Koç Maclean“Ramsey’s Influence on Russell’s Construction of Points”
ABSTRACT: In The Analysis of Matter (1927) Bertrand Russell constructs point-instants from events. During the writing of the manuscript, he encountered a problem with the initial definition of a point-instant and revised the definition accordingly in the published version. My principal aim is to show that the problem was brought to his attention by F.P. Ramsey. Secondly, I explain the reason why Russell investigates, and consequently endorses, a different method of construction of point-instants in Human Knowledge (1948), even though he was able to overcome the difficulties involving the construction of point-instants in The Analysis of Matter.
Josh Zaslow“Russell and Dewey on the Problem of the Inferred World”
ABSTRACT: In this paper I explore the little-known first debate, in 1914–19, between John Dewey and Bertrand Russell over the problem of the external world. After outlining their respective arguments, I show how Dewey’s criticisms of Russell miss the mark. Although these thinkers largely speak past one another, I argue that Dewey’s theory of inference is not only crucial to this exchange but also reveals what is at stake in their disagreement. Unfortunately, Dewey himself never explicitly invoked his account of inference during this short-lived and ultimately fruitless exchange with Russell. Had he done so, the crucial issue of their differing criteria of justification would have been raised and their exchange could have been more productive.
I. Grattan-Guinness“Jourdain, Russell and the Axiom of Choice: a New Document”
Bertrand Russell“Promise Freedom to India after War with Japan. Introduction by Andrew G. Bone”
Bertrand Russell“Recorded Message for Spring Mobilization [New York, 1967]”
Kenneth Blackwell“A Bibliography of Patricia Russell”
Stefan AnderssonReview of Erik Eriksson, Jag såg kärleken och döden [I Saw Love and Death]

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