Bertrand Russell on The Logical Structure of Belief


Bertrand Russell defended a correspondence theory of truth, initially developing a conception of belief (or judgment) as a two-place relation. But Russell later gave up on such a representational theory, developing instead his famous multiple relation theory of belief. This was in order to avoid implausible Meinongian consequences regarding particular abstract entities and objective falsehoods. But, as Wittgenstein would argue, belief conceived of as a multiple relation has its own problems inasmuch as it doesn’t rule out the possibility of believing/judging that which is nonsense or meaningless. In this talk, such issues of Russell’s early views on the nature of belief, truth, and falsehood are discussed.

This talk is somewhat difficult to follow, especially if one isn’t already familiar with the issues. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the accompanying handout. I hope you can get something out of it nonetheless. The talk was given by Michael McCourt (University of Maryland) at a 2012 conference on Bertrand Russell and his work, Problems of Philosophy. For more on Bertrand Russell & Ludwig Wittgenstein on the nature of truth, belief (judgment), and relations, I recommend checking out the following: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55fNyTb5sB8.

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