Seminar Series in Analytic Philosophy, Session 8

José Manuel Mestre

LANCOG & University of Stirling

Whence the Paralysis?

22 November 2019, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: In the spring of 1913, Wittgenstein presented Russell with an objection to his multiple relation theory of judgement that supposedly ‘paralysed’ him. The fact that there is no detailed record of the objection has led to a great deal of speculation concerning its precise meaning. Commentators have typically assumed the objection to be valid, given its impact on Russell. Yet interpretations divide in a way that suggests a sort of dilemma: roughly, internal objections are weak, strong objections are external. One might therefore want to disentangle the question of what exactly Wittgenstein’s point was, both from what Russell took it to be, and from what the intrinsic demerits of Russell’s theory are. Here I’ll review some of these interpretations, and then raise a different objection that rather relates to Ramsey’s own insightful discussion of the multiple relation theory.