Talk:Bertrand Russell

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Former good article Bertrand Russell was one of the Philosophy and religion good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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Importance of An inquiry into meaning and truth,chapter 20 entitled The law of excluded middle.[edit]

(84.100.243.211 (talk) 17:51, 13 December 2013 (UTC)) If the symbol (l) represents a priori necessity, (l) p w ~p means that the fact p and the fact not-p are a priori necessarily contradictory. On the one hand, they are necessarily in-compatible in reality, on the other hand they cannot be both excluded from reality.

Hence the fact p ≡ ~~p. That means that the fact p is the fact excluding the fact not-p as the fact not-p is the fact excluding p. The author of this remark refers the potential reader to An inquiry into meaning and truth, chapter 20 by Bertrand Russell and to what is devoted to the said chapter entitled The law of excluded middle in the following papers: KNOLmnc 1 To defend his views about modal logic and strict implication, Jean-François Monteil utilizes the chapter of Bertrand Russell’s An inquiry into meaning and truth entitled The law of excluded middle.

KNOLmnc 1 Modal logic. The three ingredients of strict implication. Calcutta. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 84.100.243.211 (talk) 17:56, 13 December 2013 (UTC)

To my mind, the twentieth chapter entitled The law of excluded middle, constitutes a sort of climax in the celebrated An inquiry into meaning and truth. In light of Tarski and thanks to the use of the logical hexagon of the Frenchman Robert Blanché in modal logic, a lot of problems raised by Russell in his book and particularly in the twentieh chapter can be solved. Tarski said: the proposition “Snow is white” is true, if and only if snow is white. One may conclude that instead of saying the proposition p is true, one must say that the fact p is certain and symbolize the certainty of the fact p by Lp. If we are in a position to assert: ‘It snowed on Manhattan Island on the first of January in the year 1 Anno Domini’, the fact p in question must be symbolized by Lp, to be read It is a certain fact that it snowed on Manhattan Island on the first of January in the year 1 Anno Domini. If we are in a position to assert: ‘It did not snow on Manhattan Island on the first of January in the year 1 Anno Domini’, the fact not-p in question must be symbolized by L~p, to be read : It is a certain fact that it did not snow on Manhattan Island on the first of January in the year 1 Anno Domini. If we are in a state of ignorance concerning the two contradictory facts p and not-p, in other words, if we are unable to assert ‘It snowed on Manhattan Island on the first of January in the year 1 Anno Domini’ as well as ‘It did not snow on Manhattan Island on the first of January in the year 1 Anno Domini’, we experience a fact, the fact that neither p nor not-p is certain. This third fact can be symbolized by ~L~p & ~Lp, both the certainty of the fact not-p and the certainty of the fact p are excluded. I emphasize here that the third fact I mention must be given as much importance as the facts Lp and L~p we are led to consider when we are in a state of knowledge. The third fact is the fact we have to envisage when we are in a state of ignorance. It corresponds to what is called the bilateral possible. ~L~p, the non-certainty of the fact not-p is equivalent to the possibility of the fact p to be symbolized by Mp, ~Lp, the non-certainty of the fact p is equivalent to the possibibity of the fact not-p to be symbolized by M~p. There exist three situations corresponding to the case envisaged by Bertrand Russell in the chapter 20 of his An inquiry into meaning and truth and entitled The law of excluded middle. One of three things, either Lp the certainty of the fact p or L~p the certainty of the fact not-p or Mp & M~p the possibility of both p and not-p to the extent that both are non-certain. In any of the three situations, the law of excluded middle is preserved. This law can be represented thus: (l) p w not-p. The facts p and not-p are necessarily, by definition ( this is the meaning of the symbol (l) here used) contradictory. They are incompatible and they cannot be both excluded of reality.

The author of these lines thinks that the solution of the Russellian problem renders possible a consistent formula of strict implication

http://mindnewcontinent.wordpress.com/ — Preceding unsigned comment added by 84.100.243.186 (talk) 09:42, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

Discussions begun in 2014[edit]

Semi-protected edit request on 7 March 2014[edit]

Introduction: Why is Russell described as being first a "nobleman"? Was he not a philosopher, logician, mathematician, etc. first and a nobleman second—or probably last? Ironically enough, that very first sentence concludes by also calling him a social critic. Besides, the use of "nobleman" as a description of a person seems quite peculiar, and in Russell's case (he was so much else!) it could, probably, be profitably omitted altogether. 128.84.126.119 (talk) 10:30, 7 March 2014 (UTC)

Surely British nobilty is a matter of birth, not one of choice or training. So I assume that the term "nobleman" is simply a qualification of his nationality. Indeed, even nationality itself may be changed later in life, whereas ancestry may not? Martinevans123 (talk) 11:02, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
It is bizarre, though, to have "nobleman" listed first. That is not the primary reason for his notability. It was added without any explanation here. I'll remove it. Ghmyrtle (talk) 11:46, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
I guess that such a deletion aligns more closely with his own socialist sympathies. Martinevans123 (talk) 12:28, 7 March 2014 (UTC)

It aligns with his own practice of referring to himself throughout his life as plain (Mr) Bertrand Russell, not Lord Russell. He himself would want it omitted from that sentence. ('Socialist sympathies' is nothing to do with it.) Yesenadam (talk) 07:32, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

Proposed change (with citation) of sentence about interaction with John F. Kennedy during Cuban Missle Crisis.[edit]

Sentence now reads

Russell also wrote to John F. Kennedy, who returned his telegram unopened.[citation needed]

It was quite easy to find a citation that shows JFK did read and reply to the telegram.

I propose the sentence be changed to

Russell also wrote to John F. Kennedy, U Thant, Harold Macmillan, and others. [1]

Tod222 (talk) 22:41, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
The following footnote was misplaced (in an unneeded separate section) near the bottom of the page, probably for years, probably bcz of failure to use {{reflist-talk}})
--Jerzyt 03:19, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

References

  1. ^ Seckel, Al. "Russell and the Cuban Missile Crisis". Russell: the Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies 4 (2): 253–261. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Jerzy (talkcontribs) 00:45, 8 July 2014 (listing template only)

V.K Krishna Menon[edit]

The article says V.K Krishna Menon was Secretary of the All-India Muslim League. This is incorrect, he was secretary of the India League, a different organisation. The Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V._K._Krishna_Menon agrees with my correction. Since the page is locked, I couldn't correct this error myself. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 115.64.142.41 (talk) 03:37, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

Essayist[edit]

I propose inserting 'essayist' between 'mathematician' and 'historian' at the top of his page. (intending to include his journalism under this heading too) He produced many books of essays on many subjects, and was a great master of prose, one of the greatest of the 20th century - arguably among the greatest of essayists, full stop. And there needs to be a section about this - it wasn't (outside the philosophical world - or even inside it, after WW2) primarily his 'views' that mattered, or for which he won the Nobel prize, but the qualities of his prose, and the values that shone from it - clarity, precision, love of short words, hatred of obfuscation and humbug, biting yet (usually) restrained wit, humour and playfulness, intelligence, use of reason etc. His prose is simply inspiring, and a joy to read. (I'm not sure if 'historian' comparatively is even worth mentioning, though by ordinary mortal standards, writing a few excellent works of history would qualify one for that moniker. I don't include History of Western Philosophy, it's - to be brief - not good.) Yesenadam (talk) 07:10, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

Making Wikipedia Remain a Joke[edit]

"Russell described himself as an agnostic, "speaking to a purely philosophical audience", but as an atheist "speaking popularly", on the basis that he could not disprove the Christian God similar to the way that he could not disprove the Olympic Gods either." This line is ridiculous and nonsensical. This is the reason everyone knows not to trust Wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.249.195.72 (talk) 21:45, 16 May 2014 (UTC)

So... change it. And, in future, please add new comments to the bottom of the page, not the top. Ghmyrtle (talk) 21:54, 16 May 2014 (UTC)

Not my problem, but....[edit]

   While i did archive my own talk page, manually, for a few years, i'm ignorant of the skills that would make it tolerable to implement a more typical approach to this talk page. (I might not have commented, but for the fact that there are two archives, i assume for about our first half decade.) What i am doing is:

  1. conforming the currently unarchived portion to the by-years scheme that's been applied at least sporadically since 2007
  2. adjusting (at least) one instance (which i've already noticed) of construing a discussion that runs into the next calendar year as belonging to the new year: unless you automate it, or manually move discussions between sections bcz (perhaps years later -- i think i responded to a 2007 talk contrib in the past week) it's pretty hard to drive a stake thru the heart of a WP discussion
  3. correcting the stereotyped wording of the master sections to include the words "begun in"

--Jerzyt 23:43, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

"Between the wars ..." section[edit]

   I've retitled the Between the wars and second marriage section to Between the wars: the syntax was ambiguous; also "and second marriage" singles out one salacious aspect as if it were comparable in his bio to a 20-year period of world history. (I'd not object to "between the world wars", but it should be clear without that, to anyone who knows some history, and bothered to look at his decades of birth and death in the lead.)
   My deeper concern relates to the use of sources in the following 'graph (the 2nd of the "Between the wars..." section). (The ref numbers and -- immediately below the 'graph -- the list of refs both appear here differently numbered than on the article's page, and with only the footnotes that are linked from this 'graph displayed; in particular, one ref (The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, p. 38) is first cited within a previous graph, and i "pre-cite" it right here[1] rather than butcher the 'graph's original markup to otherwise work without the rest of the article being present:

Russell subsequently lectured in Beijing on philosophy for one year, accompanied by Dora. He went there with optimism and hope, as China was then on a new path. Other scholars present in China at the time included Rabindranath Tagore, the Indian Nobel laureate poet.[1] While in China, Russell became gravely ill with pneumonia, and incorrect reports of his death were published in the Japanese press.[2] When the couple visited Japan on their return journey, Dora notified the world that "Mr. Bertrand Russell, having died according to the Japanese press, is unable to give interviews to Japanese journalists". The press, not appreciating the sarcasm, were not amused.[3][4]

References

  1. ^ a b The Nobel Foundation (1950). Bertrand Russell: The Nobel Prize in Literature 1950. Retrieved on 11 June 2007.
  2. ^ "Bertrand Russell Reported Dead" (PDF). The New York Times. 21 April 1921. Retrieved 11 December 2007. 
  3. ^ Russell, Bertrand (2000). Richard A. Rempel, ed. Uncertain Paths to Freedom: Russia and China, 1919–22. The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell 15 (Routledge). lxviii. ISBN 0-415-09411-9. 
  4. ^ "It provided me with the pleasure of reading my obituary notices, which I had always desired without expecting my wishes to be fulfilled... As the Japanese papers had refused to contradict the news of my death, Dora gave each of them a type-written slip saying that as I was dead I could not be interviewed". — The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, Ch. 10: China, pp. 365–366.


   The relevant actual text of the autobio passage cited is available on-line at G-Books, and the relevant context begins at the middle of p. 363, with the start of the 'graph that continues onto the next page.
   "[S]ubsequently" is a confusing substitute for keeping the temporal context usefully clear: the word also subliminally suggests (however illogically) that it entails more causal relationship than "later" does,

  • perhaps bcz the word "consequently" differs only in the first 3 letters and phonemes, and occurs (IM-unfounded-O) substantially more frequently,
  • and/or bcz there must be some better reason than mock-erudition to use a four-syllable synonym for "later".

Fortunately, we know when they went.
   He was accompanied by her to and (even while absent from each other's sight) in Peking, but it is unreasonable to assume that she accompanied him in lecturing, as the wording clumsily asserts.
   I'm moving "as China was then on a new path" outside the scope of the reference that i found following it, as it appears in the volume cited, but in its introduction, which is attributed to someone else. (The effective license Google got in the big settlement is too restrictive for me be sure who that was, without probably more travel than i care to undertake for this.) Provenance aside, our colleague accepts (barely implicitly) something that the Russell circle asserts as fact, tho it is too subjective to be verifiable -- that China was "on a new path". Professional historians, and armchair or off-duty intellectuals are appropriate in expressing what they judge true in language this vague (even in writing in the first case, and anywhere in the other), but we are not the first, nor can anyone fit the second role when "on duty" contributing to WP.
   The text does get around to clarifying reasonably well that "[Dora] notified the world" means something like "... risked having some reporter who should never have been on an English-needed beat make a second blunder that could conceivably also have been picked up by the Western press", but unless we have a colleague whose best skill is irony, why equivocate?
   In the same 'graph, "The press, not appreciating the sarcasm, were not amused." is ironic; i analyze that conviction of mine as reflecting:

  1. its use, twice, of litotes ("not appreciating" for "resenting, and "not amused" for "annoyed")
  2. the conventional but contradictory juxtapostion of "appreciate" (which is -- at least literally -- about valuing, not about comprehending) and "sarcasm" (the root, meaning to bite IIRC, contradicts the mock expectation of gratitude),
  3. my own reading, perhaps poorly informed, that
    1. the government in Tokyo were hostile to socialists like Russell, and to the Chinese for being more numerous, nearby, and not Japanese, and
    2. even if the gov. did not directly instigate the false report (e.g., to harm progressives' morale), the press may have been encouraged to be hostile to them on their arrival (bcz of his views, or bcz of his finding their "mere"-Chinese neighbors worthy of his attention, or bcz of construing the apparent request for retraction and the now sneering tone as serious insults). Russell, and/or his later editorial colleague (who was presumably far from the scene), even if not intending to offend (in print) via the later irony, has/have made an ambiguous remark (tho they could not plausibly know whether whether any reasonable ways of construing it were true), and unless they have explained elsewhere how they could know an actual fact, that they intended to express, we should not say more about it than to name the individual (and IMO unambiguously indicate that the only fact we know is the utterance and the verifiable utterer(s)).

   In the next 'graph, i was tempted to wonder whether the speculation about Russell and Eliot's first wife involved the woman who would later become Eliot's first, was then his first, or had previously been his first wife. Others among our articles clarify: after the marriage and before the separation (and there was no divorce). If we are going to mention this bit of speculation, we certainly should clarify the hypothetical circumstances, and i hope i have succeeded in starting that process.
--Jerzyt 08:03, 11 July 2014 (UTC)

Bertrand Russell and logic[edit]

(While i haven't yet confirmed it in the history, the immediately plausible explanation for it is that the second contributor to the section was not satisfied with the first editor's title, perhaps bcz the second saw the first's contrib as being suitable (perhaps "also suitable", or with a little louder hint of philosophical bullying, "more suitable") as a contribution to a wider discussion.
--Jerzyt 00:19, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

Discussions begun in 2015[edit]

Parents' first names[edit]

Surely his parents' first names (John and Katharine) should be included in the article. (I won't add them myself, as whenever I try to edit Wikipedia I get jumped upon.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Geoffw1948 (talkJonpatterns (talk) 13:57, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

Unfortunately, it seems he had rotten teeth. Martinevans123 (talk) 14:07, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

Republican?[edit]

Bertrand Russell is categorised under but no sources proving this are given throughout the article. Dr Harare (talk) 08:44, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

Welsh or English?[edit]

Was Bertrand Russell Welsh, or English?Varnebank (talk) 20:19, 17 March 2015 (UTC)

Welsh - born in Wales. Does the article claim he was English? I see him referred to as British, which is correct - Wales being part of Britain. Ianbrettcooper (talk) 16:03, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
You are so right. Best to describe him as British. This is by far the best default description for an encyclopedia for anyone born in the United Kingdom and a British citizen. Once we get into all this stuff about 'English' and 'Scottish' and now 'Cornish' that way lies madness (and endless know-it-all non-British claiming it depends on 'self identification'. Or people with some other axe to grind. I mean, Alex Salmond IS British, whether he thinks he is or not. At least for now! 81.157.242.183 (talk) 18:50, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
He was born in Monmouthshire. At the time of his birth, the area was regarded by some as part of England and by others as part of Wales. (It's clearly in Wales now, but that's not relevant here.) In any case, there is no dispute that he was British. Ghmyrtle (talk) 13:52, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

Moral justification for the use of nuclear weapons[edit]

The article states that Russell argued that: "...it was morally justified and better to go to war against the USSR using atomic bombs while the USA possessed them and before the USSR did. After the USSR exploded the atomic bomb, Russell changed his position and advocated the total abolishment of atomic weapons." This is not a change of Russell's position. It is the exact same position, maintained under different circumstances. Ianbrettcooper (talk) 15:58, 22 April 2015 (UTC)

Ancestry[edit]

There seems to be something wrong with this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.26.11.251 (talk) 14:02, 2 July 2015 (UTC)

After Physical Death[edit]

Russell is one of the figures that Charles Hapgood documented in his books as coming through the "trance" of Elwood Babbitt. With regards to his religious beliefs, Russell said through Babbitt "I was an atheist. I found my God, but my God was myself." [1]. This is one of the best quotes of all time from Bertrand Russell, but ironically, because of the religious beliefs of wikipedia Admins/editors, this section is always removed as it doesn't agree with their beliefs. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Berwin (talkcontribs) 07:15, 6 July 2015 (UTC)

How ironic. Martinevans123 (talk) 07:34, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
Read and undersand WP:Fringe before attempting to add in that section.--☾Loriendrew☽ (ring-ring) 12:00, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
We don't tend to include quotes that people are alleged to have made after they have died. Even if they're really good ones. Martinevans123 (talk) 12:20, 6 July 2015 (UTC)


References

remote Visiting scholar for McMaster University (possible emphasis Bertrand Russell)[edit]

External links modified[edit]

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