philosophy, analytic philosophy, history of philosophy


Until relatively recently, the main focus of interest in Russell’s philosophy, has been, I think it is fair to say, on his views from his 1905 paper “On Denoting” through his 1918 lectures ”The Philosophy of Logical Atomism”. Such a focus does not involve distinguishing Russell’s early Moore–influenced post–Idealist position from the views he accepted in the wake of the 1900 Paris Congress or considering the interplay between these two aspects of Russell’s development in his 1903 book, The Principles of Mathematics; nor does it involve any consideration of his concerns with “the problems connected with meaning” that are reflected in such post–1918 publications as “On Propositions: What They Are and How They Mean” or The Analysis of Mind. Recently, there has been a growing awareness that Russell’s post–1918 writings call into question the sort of picture that Rorty presents of the relation of Russell’s philosophy to the views of subsequent figures such as the later Wittgenstein, Quine, and Sellars. As I will argue in this paper, those writings show that by the early 1920’s Russell himself was advocating views—including an anti-foundationalist naturalized epistemology, and a behaviorist–inspired account of what is involved in understanding language—that are more typically associated with philosophers from later decades whom are mistakingly often rpesented as dismantling Russell’s philosophy.

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