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Paperback The Philosophy of Logical Atomism Book

ISBN: 0875484433

ISBN13: 9780875484433

The Philosophy of Logical Atomism

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Taken from a series of influential lectures delivered by Russell during the second decade of the twentieth century, this is a brilliant introduction to logical atomism and its application to ontology and epistemology.


Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970). Philosopher, mathematician, educational and sexual reformer, pacifist, prolific letter writer, author and columnist, Bertrand Russell was one of the most influential and widely known...

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Russell's Antidote to the Monist Metaphysicians

Bertrand Russell, one of the fathers of modern analytical philosophy, started out as a student of the Hegelian, F. H. Bradley, but soon found himself in opposition to the kind of "monist" thinking Bradley exemplified. Russell made his major contributions to philosophy early on in the field of symbolic logic, which he all but revolutionized, and in the philosophy of mathematics, when he applied a logicist approach to establishing the fundamentals of mathematics in a joint effort with Alfred North Whitehead. But Russell is not well remembered or studied today for this work though he lived a very long life thereafter and was much in the public eye as a peace activist, outspoken atheist (and some time agnostic) and all around spokesman for progressive ideas. What Russell is especially well known for in philosophical circles, however, is his role as teacher and mentor to the even more controversial and philosophically influential Viennese transplant, Ludwig Wittgenstein, the Cambridge philosopher who supplanted him and whose work helped undermine the logical foundations Russell had built for mathematics. Wittgenstein first sought Russell out when, as an engineering student in England, he became fascinated by Russell's work. After their initial meeting Wittgenstein became his student and, at least at the outset, Russell's designated successor. It was during his time with Russell that Wittgenstein developed ideas, under Russell's tutelage, which were to influence Russell himself and, as Russell notes repeatedly in this book, became the source for Russell's own new philosophy of logical atomism. Premised on Russell's opposition to Hegelian monism (the idea that everything is only fully comprehensible when seen as part of a greater whole), logical atomism was Russell's attempt to develop a metaphysics which accounted for the common sense reality of our experience and was consistent with the empirical tradition in British philosophy which stretched back at least as far as David Hume. Russell credits Wittgenstein in this book with having generated the ideas that led him to formulate logical atomism, a philosophy that sought to account for the world in all its various aspects by relating it to the structure of the language in which we articulate information about it. Russell's fundamental aim, as he says in the lectures in this book, was to develop an "ideal" language, based on pure logic, which did away with all the ambiguities of everyday language and enabled us to describe things with superior accuracy and effectiveness for scientific purposes. In so doing he posited, with Wittgenstein, that our language, when properly clarified, broke down into a series of components which mirrored the world. Thus we could come to know our world rightly only by developing, learning and using this clarified form of communication, this ideal language. Russell drew on the developments he had pioneered in symbolic logic to offer a breakdown of reality in terms of his

Solid work by one of the top minds of the Century

An excellent short introduction to the philosophy of logical atomism. The lectures should be read along with Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Russell's logical atomism differs significantly from Wittgenstein's version of the theory but both share certain key features which make the theory distinctive. Those who enjoy "mathematical Philosophy" will not be disappointed.

A Good Launching Pad for Russell's More Academic Philosophy

This brief work serves as a fine introduction to the academic Russell for those curious about what distinguishes him among philosophers of the twentieth century and/or for those chiefly familiar with his "popular" works, such as "Why I Am Not a Christian" and "Marriage and Morals." While Philosophy of Logical Atomism certainly does not cover his academic philosophy in depth, and it contains a number of points that he later amended (this is true of much of his academic philosophy), it is a good starting point for the Russell initiate as he can be a very difficult read in other academic texts. The Theory of Descriptions and the Theory of Types are both presented here. The Theory of Descriptions in its "indefinite" and "definite" form (as opposed to its presence as only the Definite Theory of Descriptions in Principia Mathematica). Anyone with a serious interest in analytical philosophy should be familiar with this material, and at the very least, the Philosophy of Logical Atomism will defintely tell you who wrote Waverly.
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