Welcome to The Bertrand Russell Society Online Forum

The Bertrand Russell Society Online Forum

Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - Landon Elkind

Pages: [1] 2 3
Howdy folks,

I am curious about Russell's 1950 Nobel Prize in Literature. I have two questions:
(1) Did the award committee find any work(s) of Russell's particularly meritorious, that is, did any particular works cause the committee to make the award?
(2) If not, let's have a thought experiment. Suppose you were sitting on the 1950 Nobel Prize award committee. What work(s) of Russell's do you think were sufficiently meritorious so as to make Russell deserving of the award?
I have my own thoughts on (2), but I want to see your answer! The prize motivation is rather vague: "in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought" (https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1950/russell-facts.html).

This question arose from Iowa Chapter's discussion of Russell's 1929 Marriage and Morals last week. Thanks kindly!

Yours Truly,

General Discussion / Online piece about Russell and Ambedkar
« on: August 02, 2017, 02:00:07 PM »
Howdy folks,

You might enjoy this piece on Ambedkar and Russell. It grew in part from my visit to the Russell Archives this past May. Scott R. Stroud and I co-authored it. Here's the link: https://www.forwardpress.in/2017/08/exploring-the-influence-of-russell-on-ambedkar/.

​One significant finding is that, despite some persistent rumors that Ambedkar and Russell met in London in 1920, we found no evidence to show that they did meet.

That doesn't mean that they didn't, of course--there may be a new letter that surfaces at some point.

Yours Truly,
Landon D. C. Elkind

General Discussion / Re: Logic, metaphysics, and computers
« on: September 10, 2016, 01:36:20 PM »
Howdy Dennis,

This is all very interesting. Are events taken as primitive terms? Or could you say a bit more about the description of Whitehead's metaphysics in Prolog? Thanks kindly!

Yours Truly,
Landon D. C. Elkind

Books and Quotes by Bertrand Russell / Re: Russell on "Great Men"
« on: May 10, 2016, 12:16:42 PM »
Howdy folks,

My library has delivered to me a copy of the dissertation. Due to size constraints, I cannot upload the section referred to by Ken, 4(c), the table of contents, or the end notes to Chapter 4. But all of these have been sent to Peter, and they are already scanned and available for anyone that wants them. Just e-mail me for a copy of the aforementioned: landon-elkind@uiowa.edu.

I fear I do not have access to a digital copy. And as the dissertation is quite massive, I would rather avoid scanning the whole thing myself.

If someone has the digitized copy, I would very much like to have it. Perhaps someone else can track down the digitized copy of the whole dissertation that Jack mentioned. Or is the BRS Archives copy digitized?

Yours Truly,

Thanks, Dennis!

General Discussion / Re: "Almost" Theorems
« on: February 03, 2016, 06:18:06 PM »
What a lovely list, Dennis! (4) and (5) are particularly germane to our group.

I might add: "Every prime is odd." (As there is exactly one counterexample, that should count as an 'almost true' theorem!)

General Discussion / Re: Hi everyone from a new member
« on: October 14, 2015, 05:29:04 PM »
Howdy David,

Welcome! I look forward to perhaps seeing you at the AM this year.

Yours Truly,

Howdy folks,

Below is SSHAP's (http://sshap.org/) call for symposia proposals for the upcoming meetings of the Central APA (March 2-5, 2016 - Chicago) and Pacific APA (March 30-April 3, 2016 - San Francisco). I am interested in organizing a symposium, especially on Russell's political and ethical thought, for the Central APA. I also encourage others to organize a session on Russell at the Pacific APA!

To participate, you would only need to do two things:
(1) Indicate your interest (including topics you are interested in presenting on) by e-mailing landon-elkind@uiowa.edu.
(2) Send a title and a 200-word abstract by July 20th if I e-mail you requesting one (this will only be done if there are at least three interested individuals).

Thanks kindly!

Yours Truly,

The Society for the Study of the History of Analytical Philosophy (SSHAP) is currently considering proposals for symposia to be held at the next Central APA (March 2-5 2016, Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, IL) and Pacific APA (March 30- April 3, 2016, San Francisco, CA).

We encourage anyone who is interested to submit a proposal on any topic in the history of analytical philosophy to contact us to indicate their interest.

The Society for Study of the History of Analytical Philosophy is an international organization aimed at promoting discussion in all areas of scholarship concerning the development of philosophical logic, philosophy of language, the philosophy of mind, metaphysics, the philosophy of science and epistemology. It welcomes scholars interested in the many ways in which the disciplines were influenced by thinkers such as Bolzano, Brentano and his school, Husserl, Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, the Vienna Circle, American Pragmatism, Carnap, Quine, Tarski and the Polish school, for instance, but also seeks to promote work engaging with lesser known figures and trends.

Do not hesitate to contact us, also, if you have any questions: sshap@mcmaster.ca. The SSHAP group sessions at the Central and Pacific APAs are meant to allow historians of analytical philosophy to exchange ideas in a friendly and stimulating setting. Although the number of sessions is not unlimited, we intend to organise more than one.

How to submit a proposal:

Time allowed for symposia is 3 hours (including discussion). Symposia should include a minimum of three and a maximum of four contributions. Submissions should be clearly identified as “Symposium proposal” and include:

1)    The title of the symposium

2)    A clear indication of the APA meeting at which the symposium is to be held

3)    A brief description of the topic and its relevance (200 words)

4)    The name, email, affiliation and academic status (student, lecturer, assistant professor, etc.) of each participant

5)    The title of each contribution as well as a 200 word abstract.

6)    The name, email, affiliation and academic status of the person who will be chairing the symposium


Symposium proposals should be sent electronically to:



DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION IS 25 July 2015. Authors will be notified shortly thereafter.

Very best wishes.


Sandra Lapointe

Associate Professor
Department of Philosophy

Research Affiliate
Bertrand Russell Research Centre

Editor in Chief
Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy


Dr. Sandra Lapointe
Department of Philosophy
McMaster University
University Hall 310A
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario, L8S 4K1
Tel: 905-525-9140, ext. 24312


Howdy folks,

The Philosophy of Logical Atomism is now a public domain audiobook. You may download the audiobook at the following link: https://librivox.org/the-philosophy-of-logical-atomism-by-bertrand-russell/.

Copyright laws sadly prevent recording most works published after 1927, but there are a number of writings of Russell's that fall outside this category. Notable among these, which also have no such audiobook recorded as of yet as far as I know, are The Principles of Mathematics, Our Knowledge of the External World, Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy, Bolshevism: Practice and Theory, An Essay on the Foundations of Geometry, A Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz, Philosophical Essays, Icarus, and Mysticism and Logic. Journal articles published prior to 1927 can also be recorded. The present versions of The Analysis of Mind, The Problems of Philosophy, and Proposed Roads to Freedom could likely be improved upon as well.

I plan to record at least Our Knowledge of the External World, Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy, and A Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz. Perhaps The Principles of Mathematics deserves to be a group undertaking of the Society. At any rate, I highly encourage others to record some of Russell's writings as Librivox audiobooks. If you wish for any assistance in lending your own voice to Russell's writings, then I shall be happy to help acquaint you with the Librivox system.

Yours Truly,
Landon Elkind

Thank you kindly for sharing this video, Tom!

General Discussion / Re: Russell on the Berlin Crisis/ Video
« on: October 13, 2014, 07:27:22 PM »

Thanks for the video! The Dulles quote is cited here: http://www.newspapers.com/newspage/68232852/) (purportedly from The New York Times of June 27, 1958). That's the best I could find, but I hope that it helps!

Yours Truly,

Howdy Dennis,

A very similar quote with the same gist appears in The Philosophy of Logical Atomism (https://www.ualberta.ca/~francisp/NewPhil448/RussellPhilLogicalAtomismPears.pdf):

"My desire and wish is that the things I start with should be so obvious that you wonder why I spend my time stating them. This is what I aim at, because the point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as not to seem worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it." (Lec. 1, p. 20)

Thanks kindly!

Yours Truly,

Books and Quotes by Bertrand Russell / Quote Source?
« on: September 29, 2014, 07:59:22 PM »
Howdy folks,

Could someone please provide the source for the following quote (attributed to BR):

"Nothing you write is ever as bad as you fear or as good as you hope."

Thanks kindly!

Yours Truly,

General Discussion / Re: Nazi Victory Calculation?
« on: August 28, 2014, 08:01:15 PM »
Scenario 1 doesn't seem plausible. The claim is:

"But if they win, the Nazi will establish a world government; and if there is a world government, there will be no more war."

That is an enormous leap. The one-time establishment of an oppressive world government does not guarantee and end to war - the oppressive world government's eventual collapse or breakup appears far more likely than an end to all war. So the cost of X would be, as far as I can tell, roughly the same as Y, along with the millions killed in the war to bring about Nazi rule, plus the millions more annihilated during the barbaric stages of its reign - not to mention the tremendous institutional costs of such rule.

Setting a particular cost of the value of all the lives lost also looks pretty hopeless. If we measure the value of an individual's life based on influence or impact, then we need to know who among the dead (and the dead's descendants) will be Norman Borlaug, say, and who will be Ghengis Khan. Even if the value of all lives is set at some equal number, then you need to know how many will live or die in each scenario - something that you can't just "intuit".

Let's also consider how on Earth the "civilizing influences" could "soften" Nazi rule without overthrowing it. Consider the situation abstractly - away from the horrible history and circumstances of the people living under Nazi Germany, because the idea that "civilizing influences" could "soften" Nazi Germany is overly optimistic (the White Rose movement is a case in point). Fascism is at least authoritarian, an authoritarian in the extreme, which diminishes the potency of such "civilizing influences". I doubt that "civilizing influences" would be tolerated under such rule.

Maybe the full story motivates Scenario 1, but I don't have a subscription to The Wall Street Journal, so I'm reasoning solely off the excerpt provided by Ken.

General Discussion / Re: On Voting
« on: July 25, 2014, 01:18:40 PM »
Howdy Dennis,

I think that the short of it is that the election could be decided by your vote. Focusing on the presidential election, your state's electoral votes could be cast on the basis of your one vote. That would be an odd event - exactly half the votes cast being for each candidate, save yours - but it's possible that your vote could swing the presidential election by swinging your state's electoral votes from one side to the other.

I worked as a teaching assistant for a mathematics and politics course for two semesters, and we went over how to measure of voter power, criteria for methods of choosing among candidates, and so forth - that's where I picked all this up. The text we used is fairly easy, and in case you want to read more about these issues, the link for the text is: http://www.amazon.com/A-Mathematical-Look-at-Politics/dp/1439819831.

One interesting fact is that the electoral college weights the power of some voters more than others - meaning, voters from larger states have more voting power than voters in smaller states (because in a greater number of electoral outcomes, the larger states can swing more elections). This is contrary to the popular belief that the electoral college protects the interests of smaller states' voters - as seen in a big way when (in the 1970s) senators from smaller states filibustered a proposed constitutional amendment to switch to a direct election (40% plurality with a run-off if necessary) method for choosing candidates. In fact, direct elections would increase the voting power of voters from smaller states, at least according to the Banzhaf power index (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banzhaf_power_index) for measuring voting power.

Thanks kindly!

Yours Truly,

Pages: [1] 2 3