Bertrand Russell's dialogue with his contemporaries by Elizabeth Ramsden Eames

By Elizabeth Ramsden Eames

Professor Eames explores the advance of Russell’s personal philosophy in interplay with ten of his contemporaries: Bradley, Joachim, Moore, Frege, Meinong, Whitehead, Wittgenstein, Schiller, James, and Dewey.Her exam of those interactions offers a brand new old point of view on twentieth century analytic philosophy in addition to a deeper knowing of Russell’s philosophy and its impression.

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For some Russell was a model who provided a dream and the tools to achieve it; for others Russell has been a challenge, opposition to be overcome. Rudolf Carnap is an example of the first kind of impact; J. O. 3 To a wider public, Russell's deep concern for the problems that confront humanity today has made him the exemplar of an intellectual and a philosopher. It is too early to see just how far Russell's influence will extend in space and time, or to predict the degree to which the philosophy of the twenty-first century will be Russellian or anti-Russellian.

Many of the pairs occupied St. Thomas throughout his adult life, though the pair primitive-derived did not. Now it cannot be said that Russell confronted all of these dual topics at any one time, but eventually he did have to deal with them, some of them very thoroughly and many times over, as dictated in part by the concerns of his correspondents. In some degree his solutions to the problems raised in connection with these terms had to be adjusted to the persuasions and capacities of the persons with whom he was talking, corresponding, or debating in print.

In stating these in terms of monism versus pluralism, and of the defense of internal as opposed to the defense of external relations, he is undoubtedly correct. The problem for the monist, he says, is to introduce diversity into the unity of the one; the problem for the pluralist is to introduce unity into the fundamentally atomistic, separate, simple units. He reasons that the difficulties faced by the monist are easier to solve than those faced by the pluralist and that, in fact, Russell and Moore's "solutions" are merely names for the problems.

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