Bertrand Russell Society Recognizes Authors’ Books

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Summary Statement: The Bertrand Russell Society bestowed its annual Book Award to the authors of two scholarly works about its namesake’s philosophy. Each year the Society recognizes original work that furthers understanding of Russell life and works.

Both of these books are essential additions to the library of any Russell scholar...

The Bertrand Russell Society has recognized the authors of two recently published books on Bertrand Russell’s philosophy with its 2014 book award, namely, John Ongley and Rosalind Carey for Russell: A Guide for the Perplexed (2013: Bloomsbury Academic, London), and Jolen Galaugher for Russell’s Philosophy of Logical Analysis 1897-1905 (2003: Palgrave Macmillan, NY). Ongley and Carey are both professors of philosophy at Lehman College of the City University of New York, and Galaugher recently held the Visiting Russell Professorship at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Both books have received favorable reviews by Russell specialists. Alan Schwerin, a professor of philosophy at Monmouth University in New Jersey and president of The Bertrand Russell Society, said “Both of these books are essential additions to the library of any Russell scholar, and for that matter, anyone interested in knowing more about Russell’s philosophy, especially his logicist program.”

In their Russell Guide, Ongley and Carey survey Russell’s technical philosophy from its early formulations to its late stages. Ray Perkins, professor emeritus at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, says, “What’s especially good about Ongley and Carey's book is its accessibility to all intelligent readers, and not just Russell scholars. The Introduction is a short but comprehensive overview of what might be called Russell's "serious philosophy", i.e., his philosophy of mathematics, metaphysics, theory of knowledge and language and meaning. The first two chapters give the most readable and clearest account of Russell’s logicism I have seen. And the chapters on the rest of his technical philosophy are not only clearly presented, but are neatly separated into the early, middle, and late Russell so that the reader can gain an understanding of the evolution and coherence of Russell’s philosophical thought over more than half a century.”

Galaugher’s book deals with Russell’s early thinking on analytic philosophy, a now widely-accepted method of doing philosophy that can in large part be traced to his early work, and it focuses on his break from idealism and the emergence of his realism and logicism. Gregory Landini, a professor of philosophy at the University of Iowa, encapsulates Galaugher’s book by referencing a famous conundrum featured in correspondence between German logician Gottlob Frege and Russell on the nature of propositions and their referents. According to Landini, “In spite of all its snowfields, Mont Blanc is itself a constituent of the early Russellian proposition ‘Mont Blanc is more than 4000 meters high.’ Galaugher’s engaging book holds our hand through the metaphysical contortions of Russell’s early logic as the synthetic a priori science of propositional structure. Distinguishing Frege’s sense/function/value-range ontology from Russell’s proposition-constituent ontology, this striking work challenges long-standing interpretations of early analytic philosophy and upturns the dogma that there is a Frege-Russell theory of numbers as objects. No serious Russell scholar can avoid braving the snowfields.”

The Bertrand Russell Society is a non-profit and international organization devoted to the study of Russell’s life and works, and to promoting his ideals, and it consists largely of academics and scholars from across the globe. Russell, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950, is widely recognized as one of the 20th century’s foremost logicians, philosophers, and humanitarians, and he is among the century’s most important and celebrated public intellectuals. Having published scores of influential books and hundreds of articles in his lifetime, even today philosophers continue to discover original ideas in Russell’s works, some of which are only being understood and fully appreciated now. Russell is known by many outside of academia primarily for his advocacy of peaceful solutions to conflict and his stance against nuclear weapons. More information about the Society and membership can be found on its website


CONTACT: Michael Berumen, opinealot(at)gmail(dot)com, 949-355-9183

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