1st Edition

The Rise of Analytic Philosophy, 1879–1930 From Frege to Ramsey

By Michael Potter Copyright 2020
    522 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    522 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In this book Michael Potter offers a fresh and compelling portrait of the birth of modern analytic philosophy, viewed through the lens of a detailed study of the work of the four philosophers who contributed most to shaping it:  Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Frank Ramsey. It covers the remarkable period of discovery that began with the publication of Frege's Begriffsschrift in 1879 and ended with Ramsey's death in 1930. Potter—one of the most influential scholars of this period in philosophy—presents a deep but accessible account of the break with absolute idealism and neo-Kantianism, and the emergence of approaches that exploited the newly discovered methods in logic. Like his subjects, Potter focusses principally on philosophical logic, philosophy of mathematics, and metaphysics, but he also discusses epistemology, meta-ethics, and the philosophy of language. The book is an essential starting point for any student attempting to understand the work of Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, and Ramsey, as well as their interactions and their larger intellectual milieux. It will also be of interest to anyone who wants to cast light on current philosophical problems through a better understanding of their origins.


    Part I Frege

    1. Biography
    2. Logic before 1879
    3. Begriffsschrift I: Foundations of logic
    4. Begriffsschrift II: Propositional logic
    5. Begriffsschrift III: Quantification
    6. Begriffsschrift IV: Identity
    7. Begriffsschrift V: The ancestral
    8. Early philosophy of logic
    9. The Hierarchy
    10. Grundlagen I: The context principle
    11. Grundlagen II: Arithmetical truth
    12. Grundlagen III: Numbers
    13. Grundlagen IV: The formal project
    14. Sense and reference I: Singular terms
    15. Sense and reference II: Sentences
    16. Sense anad references III: Concept-words
    17. Grundgesetze I: Types
    18. Grundgesetze II: Extensions
    19. The Frege-Hilbert correspondence
    20. Later writings
    21. Frege's Legacy

    Part II Russell

    1. Biography
    2. Bradley
    3. Geometry
    4. McTaggart
    5. German Mathematics
    6. Whitehead
    7. Moore
    8. Leibniz
    9. Peano
    10. Early logicism
    11. Denoting concepts
    12. The contradiction
    13. On denoting
    14. Truth
    15. Types
    16. Middle logicism
    17. Acquaintance
    18. Matter
    19. Pre-war judgement
    20. Facts
    21. Late logicism
    22. Post-war judgement
    23. Neutral monism
    24. Russell’s legacy
    25. III Wittgenstein

    26. Biography
    27. Facts
    28. Pictures
    29. Propositions
    30. Sense
    31. Wittgenstein’s concept-script
    32. Objects
    33. Identity
    34. Solipsism
    35. Ordinary language
    36. Minds
    37. Logic
    38. The metaphysical subject
    39. Arithmetic
    40. Science
    41. Ethics
    42. The mystical
    43. The legacy of the Tractatus
    44. IV Ramsey

    45. Biography
    46. Truth
    47. Knowledge
    48. The foundations of mathematics I: Types
    49. The foundations of mathematics II: Logicism
    50. Universals
    51. Degrees of belief
    52. Facts and propositions
    53. Last papers
    54. Ramsey’s legacy



    Michael Potter is Professor of Logic at Cambridge University, UK, and a Life Fellow of Fitzwilliam College. His studies in the history of analytic philosophy include Reason’s Nearest Kin (2000) and Wittgenstein’s Notes on Logic (2009). He is also noted for work in the foundations of mathematics, including Set Theory and its Philosophy (2004).

    "The book is an impressive achievement, and it will be an important contribution to the literature on Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Ramsey, and the history of early analytic philosophy. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and learned a lot from it. It is not only a state-of-the-art contribution to scholarship but will also be a valuable textbook for courses on the history of early analytic philosophy, or on the work of one or more of the four philosophers discussed."

    --David G. Stern, University of Iowa, USA

    "This book is a significant contribution to studies in the history of analytic philosophy and will benefit upper-level undergraduates studying this material for the first time, as well as active researchers in the area."

    --James Levine, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland