14 April 2006
The Joint Philosophical Program of Russell
and Wittgenstein: March–November 1912
Nikolay Milkov, University of Bielefeld
12:05 pm, 817R Cathedral
In the months between March and November 1912 Russell and
Wittgenstein started a joint program in philosophy during which
they often worked tête-à-tête. Wittgenstein’s
visit to Frege in December 1912, in which Frege “absolutely
wiped the floor with [him]”, terminated his intellectual honeymoon
with Russell—their joint program in philosophy was abandoned.
The theoretical effect of this breakdown was Wittgenstein’s
criticism of Russell’s Theory of Knowledge in May–June
1913. The first positive result was Wittgenstein’s “Notes
on Logic”, written down in the summer of 1913. In practical
terms, the estrangement between the two philosophers was manifested
in Wittgenstein’s decision to leave Cambridge for Norway.
being short-lived, the joint program in philosophy from March–November
1912 remained central to the philosophy of both Russell and Wittgenstein.
From then on, the main preoccupation of each philosopher was to
advance this well-formed program further. However, each did this
following his own philosophical intuition, and so developed it in
his own way.