506 pages | 2 B/W Illus.
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.
"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
Part I Frege
Part II Russell