This article rebuts Ramsey's earlier theory, in 'Universals of Law and of Fact', of how laws of nature differ from other true generalisations. It argues that our laws are rules we use in judging 'if I meet an F I shall regard it as a G'. This temporal asymmetry is derived from that of cause and effect and used to distinguish what's past as what we can know about without knowing our present intentions.
Frank Ramsey was the greatest of the remarkable generation of Cambridge philosophers and logicians which included G. E. Moore, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Maynard Keynes. Before his tragically early death in 1930 at the age of twenty-six, he had done seminal work in mathematics and economics as well as in logic and philosophy. This volume, with a new and extensive introduction by D. H. Mellor, contains all Ramsey's previously published writings on philosophy and the foundations of mathematics. The latter (...) gives the definitive form and defence of the reduction of mathematics to logic undertaken in Russell and Whitehead's Principia Mathematica; the former includes the most profound and original studies of universals, truth, meaning, probability, knowledge, law and causation, all of which are still constantly referred to, and still essential reading for all serious students of these subjects. (shrink)
This note is a postscript to Ramsey's 'Truth and Probability'. It replaces that article's psychological reading of subjective probability with a reading of it as a consistency condition on the theory that we act to maximise expected utility.
The article argues that universals of law, i.e. the laws of nature, are the general axioms of a deductive system of all knowledge, and their deductive consequences. Universals of fact are generalisations deducible from these together with particular facts.
The present publication forms part of a projected book that F. P. Ramsey drafted but never completed. It survived among his papers and ultimately came into the possession of the University of Pittsburgh in the circumstances detailed in the Editor's Introduction. Our hope in issuing this work at this stage - some sixty years after Ramsey's premature death at the age of 26 - is both to provide yet another token of his amazing philosophical creativity, and also to make available (...) an important datum for the still to be written history of the development of philosophical analysis. This is a book whose appearance will, we hope and expect, be appreciated both by those interested in linguistic philosophy itself and by those concerned for its historical development in the present century. EDITORS'INTRODUCTION 1. THE RAMSEY COLLECTION Frank Plump ton Ramsey was an extra ordinary scholarly phenomenon. Son of a distinguished mathematician and President of Magdalene College, Cambridge and brother of Arthur Michael, eventual Archbishop of Canterbury, Ramsey was closely connected with Cambridge throughout his life, ultimately becoming lecturer in Mathematics in the University. Notwithstanding his great mathematical talent, it was primarily logic and philosophy that engaged his interests, and he wrote original and important contributions to logic, semantics, epistomology, probability theory, philosophy of science, and economics, in addition to seminal work in the foundations of mathematics. (shrink)
Haack, S. Is truth flat or bumpy?--Chihara, C. S. Ramsey 's theory of types.--Loar, B. Ramsey 's theory of belief and truth.--Skorupski, J. Ramsey on Belief.--Hookway, C. Inference, partial belief, and psychological laws.--Skyrms, B. Higher order degrees of belief.--Mellor, D. H. Consciousness and degrees of belief.--Blackburn, S. Opinions and chances.--Grandy, R. E. Ramsey, reliability, and knowledge.--Cohen, L. J. The problem of natural laws.--Giedymin, J. Hamilton's method in geometrical optics and Ramsey 's view of theories.