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Summary Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) is widely considered one of the most important British philosophers of the 20th Century, and one of the principal founders of analytic philosophy. He is known for advocating the use of symbolic logic in philosophical studies, inspired by his own investigations into the foundations of mathematics and advocacy of logicism, the thesis that mathematical truths are logical truths. Russell is known for his work in the theory of meaning, especially his theory of definite and indefinite descriptions, his use of an analytical philosophical methodology, his advocacy of a stark realist metaphysics, and his arguments in favor of universals. He also wrote widely on other areas of philosophy, including epistemology, ethics and even the history of philosophy.
Key works Russell's first major philosophical work, The Principles of Mathematics (Russell 1903), introduced not just his logicist views in the philosophy of mathematics, but a general analytic metaphysics and philosophical logic. Its project came to fruition in the three volume Russell & Whitehead 1910 (first edition 1910–1913) in which symbolic logic is used to derive the basic principles of mathematics. Russell’s famous article “On Denoting” (Russell 1905) introduced his theory of descriptions. His views on other philosophical matters are explored in works such as The Problems of Philosophy (Russell 1912), Our Knowledge of the External World (Russell 1914), The Philosophy of Logical Atomism (Russell 1940), The Analysis of Mind (Russell 1921), The Analysis of Matter (Russell 1927), An Outline of Philosophy (Russell 1927), and Human Knowledge: Its Scope and Limits (Russell 1948).
Introductions Landini 2011; Irvine 2008; Griffin 2003; Pears 1972; Ayer 1972.
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  1. Why did Bertrand Russell write so many things that he attached a low value to?Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    I present an answer to the title question which relates Russell’s writings to a remark by C.D. Broad. Russell shared the same concerns as Broad about the new postgraduate students at the University of Cambridge but instead of voicing them, his writings left a problem.
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  2. Meinongian Merits and Maladies.Samuel Hoadley-Brill - manuscript
    According to what has long been the dominant school of thought in analytic meta-ontology––defended not only by W. V. O. Quine, but also by Bertrand Russell, Alvin Plantinga, Peter van Inwagen, and many others––the meaning of ‘there is’ is identical to the meaning of ‘there exists.’ The most (in)famous aberration from this view is advanced by Alexius Meinong, whose ontological picture has endured extensive criticism (and borderline abuse) from several subscribers to the majority view. Meinong denies the identity of being (...)
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  3. Russell y las matemáticas como puramente sintácticas.Emilio Méndez Pinto - manuscript
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  4. Russell's 1927 The Analysis of Matter as the First Book on Quantum Gravity.Said Mikki - manuscript
    The goal of this note is to bring into wider attention the often neglected important work by Bertrand Russell on the foundations of physics published in the late 1920s. In particular, we emphasize how the book The Analysis of Matter can be considered the earliest systematic attempt to unify the modern quantum theory, just emerging by that time, with general relativity. More importantly, it is argued that the idea of what I call Russell space, introduced in Part III of that (...)
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  5. "If-then" as a version of "Implies".Matheus Silva - manuscript
    Russell’s role in the controversy about the paradoxes of material implication is usually presented as a tale of how even the greatest minds can fall prey to basic conceptual confusions. Quine accused him of making a silly mistake in Principia Mathematica. He interpreted “if- then” as a version of “implies” and called it material implication. Quine’s accusation is that this decision involved a use-mention fallacy because the antecedent and consequent of “if-then” are used instead of being mentioned as the premise (...)
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  6. The Quasi-Verbal Dispute Between Kripke and 'Frege-Russell'.J. P. Smit - manuscript
    Traditional descriptivism and Kripkean causalism are standardly interpreted as rival theories on a single topic. I argue that there is no such shared topic, i.e. that there is no question that they can be interpreted as giving rival answers to. The only way to make sense of the commitment to epistemic transparency that characterizes traditional descriptivism is to interpret Russell and Frege as proposing rival accounts of how to characterize a subject’s beliefs about what names refer to. My argument relies (...)
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  7. Never forget your friends or their explanatory priority.Devlin Russell - manuscript
    of (from British Columbia Philosophy Graduate Conference) This paper attempts to argue for an interpretation of Peter Strawson�s account of moral responsibility that successfully eliminates the threat of determinism. The goal is to capture the spirit of Strawson�s view and elucidate that spirit. I do this by emphasizing an aspect of Strawson�s account that others, like Paul Russell, may find insignificant, and then I demonstrate how this aspect is meant to quash the threat of determinism. Specifically, I claim that Strawson (...)
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  8. Preface.Herbert Golder - unknown - Arion 3 (1).
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  9. The Bertrand Russell Archives, McMaster University.Nicholas Griffin - unknown - Eidos: The Canadian Graduate Journal of Philosophy 1.
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  10. Russell's "On Denoting".Meggan Payne - unknown - Proceedings of the Heraclitean Society 21.
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  11. Logicomix by Apostolos Doxiadis et al. Grant Bartley Scrutinizes an Epic Graphic Biography of Bertrand Russell.G. Bartley - forthcoming - Philosophy Now: A Magazine of Ideas (June/July 2010).
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  12. Recasting Hume and Early Modern Philosophy: Selected Essays, by Paul Russell.Annemarie Butler - forthcoming - Mind.
  13. Hermann Lotze’s Influence on Twentieth Century Philosophy, written by Nikolay Milkov. [REVIEW]Karen Green - forthcoming - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis:1-9.
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  14. Peano, Frege and Russell’s Logical Influences.Kevin C. Klement - forthcoming - Forthcoming.
    This chapter clarifies that it was the works Giuseppe Peano and his school that first led Russell to embrace symbolic logic as a tool for understanding the foundations of mathematics, not those of Frege, who undertook a similar project starting earlier on. It also discusses Russell’s reaction to Peano’s logic and its influence on his own. However, the chapter also seeks to clarify how and in what ways Frege was influential on Russell’s views regarding such topics as classes, functions, meaning (...)
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  15. Knowledge-by-Acquaintance First.Uriah Kriegel - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Bertrand Russell’s epistemology had the interesting structural feature that it made propositional knowledge (“S knows that p”) asymmetrically dependent upon what Russell called knowledge by acquaintance. On this view, a subject lacking any knowledge by acquaintance would be unable to know that p for any p. This is something that virtually nobody has defended since Russell, and in this paper I initiate a sympathetic reconsideration.
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  16. Bertrand Russell and the Scientific Spirit.Sam Labson - forthcoming - Philosophy.
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  17. The Oxford Handbook of Bertrand Russell.Fraser MacBride, Graham Stevens & Samuel Lebens (eds.) - forthcoming - Oxford: Oxford.
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  18. Preface.Judith Newton & Nancy Hoffman - forthcoming - Feminist Studies.
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  19. Mach, Russell, and Scientific Philosophizing: Re-visiting the Realistic Empiricism of Evolutionary Culture.Majeda Ahmad Omar - forthcoming - Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture:44-53.
    Ernst Mach’s and Bertrand Russell’s philosophical outlooks contributed to shaping the philosophy of science of the 20th century. Mach is a philosophical interpreter of science, a positivist, and a historian, considering the general principles of science as condensed economic descriptions of observed facts. Russell held a view of the nature and relation of philosophy to science and to logic that can be described as essentially consistent. In this article, the aim is to explore how both Mach and Russell defended the (...)
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  20. Yours Fraternally: Bertrand Russell and G. E. Moore.Consuelo Preti - forthcoming - In Fraser MacBride, Graham Stevens & Samuel Lebens (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Bertrand Russell. Oxford: Oxford.
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  21. Review of Truth in Virtue of Meaning. By Gillian Russell. [REVIEW]Francesco Pupa - forthcoming - Metaphilosophy.
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  22. Comment peut-on parler du sens? Russell critique de Husserl.Jean-Michel Roy - forthcoming - Les Etudes Philosophiques.
  23. Mathematics First: Russell’s Methodological Response to Bradley.Oliver Thomas Spinney - forthcoming - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie.
    In this article I examine the dispute between F. H. Bradley and Bertrand Russell concerning the reality of relations. I show that Bradley’s objections to Russell’s view, that there are such things as relations which serve to effect the unity of complex items, were rooted in a methodological approach which Russell did not share. On Bradley’s view, one must be able to offer reductive analyses of the items one postulates in order that commitment to those items be justified. I argue (...)
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  24. Synthesis and analysis: Jean Nicod as a mediator between Bergson and Russell.Ties van Gemert - forthcoming - British Journal for the History of Philosophy:1-24.
    This paper presents Jean Nicod (1893–1924) as a mediator in the dispute between Bergson and Russell. In La géométrie dans le monde sensible (1924), Nicod extensively discusses Bergson’s epistemology focusing on those aspects that Russell critically discusses in The Philosophy of Henri Bergson (1912) and Our Knowledge of the External World (1914). His aim is to establish a middle ground between synthesis and analysis: to show how most of the disagreements between Bergson and Russell can be resolved without compromising the (...)
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  25. Russell i Polacy.Jan Woleński - forthcoming - Przeglad Filozoficzny - Nowa Seria.
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  26. Davidson, Russell and Wittgenstein on the Problem of Predication.José L. Zalabardo - forthcoming - In Claudine Verheggen (ed.), Wittgenstein and Davidson on Language, Thought, and Action. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  27. Alice Ambrose and Margaret MacDonald: Two Women Who Challenged Bertrand Russell on Ordinary Language.Siobhan Chapman - 2024 - In Landon D. C. Elkind & Alexander Mugar Klein (eds.), Bertrand Russell, Feminism, and Women Philosophers in his Circle. London: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 161-190.
    This chapter considers some of the philosophical writings of Alice Ambrose (1906–2001) and Margaret MacDonald (1903–1956), particularly in relation to their responses to Russell’s work. It argues that both need to be recovered and reconsidered as significant philosophers in their own right, who have important contributions to make to the familiar problems posed by ordinary language in relation to philosophy. Ambrose worked mainly in mathematics and symbolic logic and her earliest publications drew a critical response from Russell himself. Responding in (...)
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  28. Bertrand and Dora Russell on Sex, Marriage and the Rule of Fathers.Sophia Connell - 2024 - In Landon D. C. Elkind & Alexander Mugar Klein (eds.), Bertrand Russell, Feminism, and Women Philosophers in his Circle. London: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 37-82.
    Reviewers of Bertrand Russell’s Marriage and Morals (MM) came to no consensus on the purpose of the work. Some saw it as advocating love in marriage, others as destroying marriage and still others as an attempt to justify promiscuity (Kayden, Tract on Sex and Marriage: Review of Marriage and Morals by Bertrand Russell. The Sewanee Review 38(1), 104–108, 1930; Pan, Review of Marriage and Morals by Bertrand Russell. The China Critic 3(8), 186–187, 1930). Their confusion is understandable given the tensions (...)
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  29. Wittgenstein's impatient reply to Russell.Cora Diamond - 2024 - In José L. Zalabardo (ed.), Wittgenstein's Tractatus logico-philosophicus: a critical guide. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
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  30. “I like her very much—she has very good brains.”: Dorothy Wrinch’s Influence on Bertrand Russell.Landon D. C. Elkind - 2024 - In Landon D. C. Elkind & Alexander Mugar Klein (eds.), Bertrand Russell, Feminism, and Women Philosophers in his Circle. London: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 259-297.
    In this chapter I critically examine the hitherto neglected influence that Dorothy Wrinch had on her teacher, friend, and informal thesis adviser, Bertrand Russell, and the puzzling fact that Russell never cited Wrinch’s mathematical papers on Principia Mathematica. Wrinch never reshaped Russell’s general outlook; indeed, Wrinch adopted as her own many of Russell’s 1911–1919 views about logic, philosophy, science, and their relationships that are characteristic of logic-centered twentieth-century analytic philosophy. Still, the influence was not just in one direction, from teacher (...)
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  31. Bertrand Russell, Feminism, and Women Philosophers in his Circle.Landon D. C. Elkind & Alexander Mugar Klein (eds.) - 2024 - London: Palgrave Macmillan.
    This book examines Bertrand Russell’s complicated relationships to the women around him, and to feminism more generally. The essays in this volume offer scholarly reassessments of these relationships and their import for the history of feminism and of analytic philosophy. Russell is a founder of analytic philosophy. He has also been called a feminist due to his public, decades-long advocacy for women’s rights and equality of the sexes. But his private behavior towards wives and sexual partners, and his apparently dismissive (...)
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  32. Sex, Suffrage, and Marriage: Russell and Feminism.Allauren Samantha Forbes - 2024 - In Landon D. C. Elkind & Alexander Mugar Klein (eds.), Bertrand Russell, Feminism, and Women Philosophers in his Circle. London: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 83-113.
    The question of Russell’s engagement with feminist ideas of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century is helpfully illuminated, I argue, by comparison to some of his feminist contemporaries—namely, Victoria Claflin Woodhull (1838–1927) and Emma Goldman (1869–1940). Like Woodhull and Goldman, Russell argues for women’s right to vote, a new sexual ethic, and a significant revision to marriage. These are paradigmatic feminist projects, and so would seem to suggest that Russell, particularly within Marriage and Morals, has significant philosophical overlap with (...)
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  33. Grandmothers and Founding Mothers of Analytic Philosophy: Constance Jones, Bertrand Russell, and Susan Stebbing on Complete and Incomplete Symbols.Frederique Janssen-Lauret - 2024 - In Landon D. C. Elkind & Alexander Mugar Klein (eds.), Bertrand Russell, Feminism, and Women Philosophers in his Circle. London: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 207-239.
    Russell’s use of incomplete symbols constituted progress in philosophy. They allowed Russell to make true negative existential claims, like ‘the present King of France does not exist’, and to analyse away logical constructs like tables. Russell’s view rested on the availability of complete symbols, logically proper names, which single out objects which we know by acquaintance, which we are committed to, and to whose existence discourse about apparent complexes can be reduced. Susan Stebbing enthusiastically embraced incomplete symbols for use in (...)
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  34. Higher-Order Metaphysics in Frege and Russell.Kevin C. Klement - 2024 - In Peter Fritz & Nicholas K. Jones (eds.), Higher-Order Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. pp. 355-377.
    This chapter explores the metaphysical views about higher-order logic held by two individuals responsible for introducing it to philosophy: Gottlob Frege (1848–1925) and Bertrand Russell (1872–1970). Frege understood a function at first as the remainder of the content of a proposition when one component was taken out or seen as replaceable by others, and later as a mapping between objects. His logic employed second-order quantifiers ranging over such functions, and he saw a deep division in nature between objects and functions. (...)
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  35. A Moral and Intellectual Evaluation of Russell’s Romantic/Sexual Practices.Gülberk Koç Maclean - 2024 - In Landon D. C. Elkind & Alexander Mugar Klein (eds.), Bertrand Russell, Feminism, and Women Philosophers in his Circle. London: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 11-36.
    This chapter will argue that due to a lack of genuine consent, some of Russell’s practices in his romantic/sexual relationships are morally objectionable according to his own normative theory (utilitarianism) and these practices are intellectually objectionable according to his post-1913 meta-ethics (expressivism) and his understanding of rationality. On utilitarian grounds, Russell’s actions would maximize pleasure and minimize pain for all the parties affected by the relationship if the authenticity of his partners’ consent were maintained either by a more or less (...)
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  36. Susan Stebbing and Russell’s Logical Atomism.Teresa Kouri Kissel - 2024 - In Landon D. C. Elkind & Alexander Mugar Klein (eds.), Bertrand Russell, Feminism, and Women Philosophers in his Circle. London: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 191-206.
    Susan Stebbing held that Russell’s Doctrine of External Relations was incorrect. Interestingly, she also held that Bradley’s Doctrine of Internal Relations was problematic. In this paper, I’ll explain why she held this position, and develop what I will call the Doctrine of I/E relations, which will explain her middle ground. I start with a brief explanation of Russell’s Logical Atomism and his commitment to the Doctrine of External Relations. Then, to explain the Doctrine of I/E Relations, I take a brief (...)
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  37. Beatrice Edgell’s Myth of the Given.Uriah Kriegel - 2024 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 32 (3):587-605.
    Wilfrid Sellars’ “myth of the given” had a momentous influence on 20th-century epistemology, putting under pressure the internalist foundationalism so prominent in early analytic philosophy. In this paper, I argue that the core themes in Sellars’ argument are anticipated in the work of the London philosopher and psychologist Beatrice Edgell (1871-1948). Indeed, in some respects Edgell’s argument against the myth of the given is even more compelling than Sellars’. The paper logically reconstructs and historically contextualizes Edgell’s line of argument, as (...)
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  38. Russell and Strawson on definite descriptions.Daniel Malvasio - 2024 - In Carlos Enrique Caorsi & Ricardo J. Navia (eds.), Philosophy of language in Uruguay: language, meaning, and philosophy. Lanham: Lexington Books.
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  39. Russell and American Realism.Matthias Neuber - 2024 - Topoi 43 (1):127-133.
    American philosophical realism developed in two forms: “new” and “critical” realism. While the new realists sought to ‘emancipate’ ontology from epistemology and defended a direct theory of perception, the critical realists promoted a representationalist account of perception and thus argued for an epistemological dualism. Bertrand Russell’s early philosophical writings figured prominently in both of these American realist camps. However, while the new realists quite enthusiastically embraced the Russellian analytic style of reasoning (and Russell himself appreciated the American new realists as (...)
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  40. Bertrand Russell, Albert Barnes, and the place of aesthetics in the history of Western philosophy.C. Oliver O'Donnell - 2024 - In Chiara Ambrosio & Julia Sánchez-Dorado (eds.), Abstraction in science and art: philosophical perspectives. New York, NY: Routledge.
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  41. Russell's Theories of Events and Instants from the Perspective of Point-Free Ontologies in the Tradition of the Lvov-Warsaw School.Andrzej Pietruszczak - 2024 - History and Philosophy of Logic 45 (2):161-195.
    We classify two of Bertrand Russell's theories of events within the point-free ontology. The first of such approaches was presented informally by Russell in ‘The World of Physics and the World of Sense’ (Lecture IV in Our Knowledge of the External World of 1914). Based on this theory, Russell sketched ways to construct instants as collections of events. This paper formalizes Russell's approach from 1914. We will also show that in such a reconstructed theory, we obtain all axioms of Russell's (...)
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  42. Attitude ascriptions: a new old problem for Russell’s theory of descriptions.Stefan Rinner - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-14.
    In order to explain that sentences containing empty definite descriptions are nevertheless true or false, Russell famously analyzes sentences of the form ‘The F is G’ as ‘There is exactly one F and it is G’. Against this it has been objected that Russell’s analysis provides the wrong truth-conditions when it comes to non-doxastic attitude ascriptions. For example, according to Heim, Kripke, and Elbourne (HKE), there are circumstances in which (1) is true and (2) is false. Hans wants the ghost (...)
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  43. Inductive Metaphysics Versus Logical Construction—Russell’s Methods and Realisms in 1912 and 1914.Ansgar Seide - 2024 - Topoi 43 (1):101-113.
    In his 1912 book _The Problems of Philosophy_, Bertrand Russell advocates an indirect realism with regard to physical objects. Only two years later, in his book _Our Knowledge of the External World_ and the paper “The Relation of Sense-Data to Physics”, he changes his method in philosophy. Instead of inferring the existence of physical objects, he now sets out to construct them out of sense-data. As I will argue in this article, the main argument from _The Problems of Philosophy_ can (...)
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  44. Wittgenstein and Russell.Sanford Shieh - 2024 - Cambridge University Press.
    Responding to Russell is a constant throughout Wittgenstein's philosophizing. This Element focuses on Wittgenstein's criticisms of Russell's theories of judgment in the summer of 1913. Wittgenstein's response to these criticisms is of first-rate importance for his early philosophical development, setting the path to the conceptions of proposition and of logic in Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. This Element also touches on further aspects of Wittgenstein's responses to Russell: the rejection of Russell's and Frege's logicisms in the Tractatus, the critique of Russell's causal-behavioristic philosophy (...)
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  45. Patricia Russell and Her Influence on Bertrand Russell.Michael D. Stevenson - 2024 - In Landon D. C. Elkind & Alexander Mugar Klein (eds.), Bertrand Russell, Feminism, and Women Philosophers in his Circle. London: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 299-321.
    Bertrand Russell’s relationship with his third wife, Patricia Russell (nee Spence), remains largely unexplored, primarily due to the long-standing embargo on correspondence between Russell and Patricia contained in McMaster University’s Russell Archives that has only recently been lifted. This chapter focuses on letters written by Patricia from the time she became involved with Russell after being hired as the governess for Russell’s children in 1930 to the return of Russell and Patricia to England in 1944 following their six-year exile in (...)
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  46. The Place of Naïve Realism in Russell’s Changing Accounts of Perception.Leopold Stubenberg - 2024 - Roczniki Filozoficzne 72 (1):15-41.
    In this paper I describe the place of naive realism in Russell’s changing accounts of perception. I argue ‎for the following conclusions: (1) The early period, 1898-1910: I am inclined to think that the naïve ‎realism that Russell embraced so enthusiastically early on may not have been intended as a naïve ‎realism about perception, but as a metaphysical or semantical thesis. (2) The Problems of Philosophy ‎‎(1912): Russell abandons naïve realism (if, in fact, he ever held it) and presents a (...)
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  47. Bertrand Russell: the colours of pacifism.Claudio Giulio Anta - 2023 - New York: Peter Lang.
    Bertrand Russell: The Colours of Pacifism analyzes the tenacious commitment of one of the twentieth century's most extraordinary intellectuals to the cause of civilization, progress, and human rights. Through his active and pragmatic pacifism, Russell sought to confront the problems stemming from the unstable and dramatic political conditions of his age: the beginning of the Great War, the establishment of the League of Nations, the rise of totalitarian regimes, the outbreak of the Second World War, the dawn of the Atomic (...)
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  48. Russell and Carnap or Bourbaki? Two Ways Towards Structures.Paola Cantù & Frédéric Patras - 2023 - In Paola Cantù & Georg Schiemer (eds.), Logic, Epistemology, and Scientific Theories – From Peano to the Vienna Circle. Springer Nature Switzerland. pp. 193-216.
    Recent years have featured the existence of a variety of structuralisms, with an important partition between methodological versus philosophical structuralism. Inside philosophical structuralism, many trends can be identified, corresponding to various ontological stances. We argue here that another main partition has contributed to organize structuralism in the twentieth century, rooted in different technical and theoretical interests. This partition is largely transversal to the ones classically identified. Concretely, the paper will focus on possible differences between an arithmetical and logical notion of (...)
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  49. Stebbing and Russell on Bergson: Early Analytics on Continental Thought.Ivory Day - 2023 - In Chelsea C. Harry & George N. Vlahakis (eds.), Exploring the Contributions of Women in the History of Philosophy, Science, and Literature, Throughout Time. Springer Nature Switzerland. pp. 129-150.
    The purpose of this chapter is to argue that the work of Susan Stebbing, an analytic philosopher and proponent of both common sense philosophy and logicism at the time of their emergence in English scholarship, provides a better model for an analysis of continental thought than the work of her contemporary, Bertrand Russell. The comparison is important as it shows why Stebbing’s work should be chosen over Russell’s if the goal is to find a quintessential analytic approach to continental thought (...)
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  50. Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy.B. V. E. Hyde - 2023 - Discusiones Filosóficas 24 (42):185-189.
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