Register at this page for the next Russelliana, a free and online event joint with the British Wittgenstein Society! It is at 1 pm EST (6 pm UK time). This is a panel discussion of Russell and Wittgenstein from 1913 onward, with speakers Jose Zalabardo and James Connelly. Below are the speaker’s abstracts and a description of the event’s theme:
Considered individually, each of Russell and Wittgenstein rank among the twentieth century’s most important and influential thinkers. However, they were also at times both close collaborators, as well as insightful critics of one another’s work. Through both collaboration and criticism, each profoundly influenced the other’s philosophical development. This panel will explore these influences over the period from 1913, when Russell composed and then ultimately abandoned his Theory of Knowledge manuscript in part in response to Wittgenstein’s criticisms, to 1927, when a second edition of Principia Mathematica was published, in which Russell attempted to incorporate several of Wittgenstein’s key logical proposals. Over the intervening years, Wittgenstein wrote and then published the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922), which was both deeply influenced by Russell’s philosophical ideas, but also impacted Russell’s thinking significantly as well, as evidenced in Principia Mathematica’s second edition.
Jose Zalabardo (University College London)
Tractarian ideas in Russell’s Theory of Knowledge manuscript
I plan to discuss some passages of Russell’s manuscript in which some central ideas of the Tractatus appear as targets, including the Tractarian accounts of expressions and of logical form and, time permitting, the picture theory.
James Connelly (Trent University)
Russell, Wittgenstein, and the Second Edition of Principia Mathematica
I plan to critically exposit and assess Russell’s implementation of Wittgenstein’s ideas within the second edition of PM. I will argue that while Russell understood Wittgenstein’s proposals, he did not implement them in ways that strictly cohere with Wittgenstein’s intentions, because he did not find the associated ideas plausible enough. Instead, Russell attempted to revise and reconstruct Wittgenstein’s ideas as charitably and fruitfully as possible, but found they were not up to the task of providing a foundation for mathematics of the sort envisioned in PM.