Bertrand Russell's The Theory Of Knowledge

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Bertrand Russell, a founding member of analytical philosophy, was born in the United Kingdom in 1872. Intelligent and versatile, Russell earned a career most notably as a philosopher, logician, political activist, and mathematician until his death in 1970. Influenced heavily by Gottfried Leibniz, Russell was conversant with and involved in every aspect of philosophy. Russell went on to influence the evolution of analytical philosophy along with philosophers Gottlob Frege and George Edward Moore. One of Russell’s most famous essays, “The Theory of Knowledge” analyzes knowledge through three discussions: the definition of knowledge, data, and methods of interference. Both Russell’s approach to and theories regarding metaphysics and epistemology…show more content…
The theory of types created a logical foundation for mathematics as presented by Russell in his 1908 paper Mathematical Logic as Based on the Theory of Types. Russell wrote his type theory in response to ambiguities he found in set theory. “Naive Set Theory”, as we now call it, defined sets vaguely and paradoxically allowed any variable to become a set without restriction. This confusion led Russell to publish his paradox explaining that no set consists of "all sets that do not contain themselves". Russell developed his type theory to be more precise than naive set theory. In Russell’s theory of types, each "term" has a "type" and operations are restricted to terms of a specific type. In Principia Mathematica, published in 1910, Russell and Whitehead attempt to avoid Russell’s paradox by asserting a hierarchy of types, after which each entity (mathematical or other) is assigned a type. In this way, Russell created his ramified theory of types compounded with an axiom of reducibility. As his work progressed Russell relied on the axiom of reducibility, a hierarchy of predicates, as an answer to the impredicative definitions that arose when he first introduced his ramified theory. Arguably, Russell and Whitehead’s analytical work in Principia Mathematica led to a redefinition of how logic is perceived…show more content…
The work garnerd new philosophical concepts such as the theory of types, logical construction, and propositional function. Significantly, Russell and Whitehead first defined a series as a set of terms with connected, asymmetrical, transitive properties. The analytical work presented in Principia Mathematica led T.S Eliot to claim, “The Principia Mathematica are perhaps a greater contribution to our language than they are to mathematics.” Regardless of some critical response, it is apparent that many contributions were made in Russell and Whitehead’s collaborative work that remain even in this century of
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