The Rise of Analytic Philosophy, 1879–1930 : From Frege to Ramsey book cover
1st Edition

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

ISBN 9781315776187
Published October 8, 2019 by Routledge
522 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents


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


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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