Reeves, Joan Wynn (1934)
The origin and the significance of the logics-analytical method in metaphysics.
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The object of this thesis is to consider the method to which reference is made by Bertrand Russell in The Lowell Lectures. Russell himself does not make clear the exact nature of the Logico-Analytic method. A study has therefore been made of Russell's earlier work in relation to that of Professor G.E. Moore. It is seen that Russell derived a certain theory of propositions from Moore. No doubt Russell was greatly influenced by Frege and Meinong but in this thesis it is his relation to Moore that has been considered. Certain difficulties entailed by the acceptance of this theory of propositions, led Russell to formulate the Theory of Descriptions, and the multiple relation theory of Judgment. The study of both of these theories, and the consideration of the general position Russell was holding by 1911, indicate the importance of the nature of the objects of acquaintance. These, namely sense-data and special reference to Professor Moore. The foregoing considerations suggest that for Russell, at least at this time, the objects of acquaintance were both metaphysically and epistemologically ultimate. Moreover it appears that the Logico-Analytic method is a way of approaching metaphysical and epistemological questions by the analysis of sentences expressing common-sense views into statements which refer immediately to objects of acquaintance. The conception of physical objects which Russell, believed that he would reach by this method is illustrated by reference to the Lowell Lectures and certain articles in Mysticism and Logic. In conclusion an attempt is made to state clearly the assumptions upon which the use of the method is based, perhaps the most important of which are: 1) There are certain common sense propositions which we all understand and which are certainly true. 2) There are final facts which make sentences expressing these propositions true; which final facts are absolutely specific facts about entities which should be regarded as incapable of further analysis. Some estimate of the significance of the method can be made in the light of its assumptions. Its more obvious value lies in stressing the importance of knowing exactly the reference of statements accepted as true, both to the facts that make them true, and to those facts we may regard as evidence for their truth. More shortly it suggests both the importance of avoiding, and a way of avoiding, mistakes and confusions due to the misunderstanding of language.
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Institution: University of London, Bedford College (United Kingdom).