Russell’s Discussion of Judgment in The Philosophy of Logical Atomism: Did Russell Have a Theory of Judgment in 1918?

  • Anssi Korhonen
Part of the History of Analytic Philosophy book series (History of Analytic Philosophy)


Russell’s discussion of belief in The Philosophy of Logical Atomism is brief, tentative, and mostly negative. The standard view has been that in the lectures, Russell no longer believed in the multiple-relation theory of judgment but was not yet in a position to articulate an alternative conception of belief; that came only a little later, with the psychological account of belief that is found in such works as On Propositions (1919) and The Analysis of Mind (1921). In this paper, I challenge the standard view. First, I present evidence to support the claim that the views that Russell held in 1918 at least leave room for a version of the multiple-relation theory, albeit one that would be rather different from the view he held before. Second, I consider some key developments in Russell’s thinking about judgment during 1913–1918. These developments indicate the direction in which he may have been moving. Third, I present some speculation—partly relying on a recent work by Fraser MacBride—regarding a positive account of judgment in Russell’s lectures; an important connection that emerges from this speculation is one between the multiple-relation theory of judgment and the distinction between positive and negative facts.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anssi Korhonen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyHistory and Art StudiesUniversity of HelsinkiFinland

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