Bertrand Russell on Modality and Logical Relevance

Bertrand Russell on Modality and Logical Relevance

by Jan Dejnozka
     
 

This book is the only exhaustive study of Russell on modality and relevance ever written.

Many philosophers seem unaware that Russell had any views on these subjects, or think he disliked them. There are two reasons for this. First, most philosophers, even many of those who write on his logic, have read few of Russell's nonlogical works, and those are the works

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Overview

This book is the only exhaustive study of Russell on modality and relevance ever written.

Many philosophers seem unaware that Russell had any views on these subjects, or think he disliked them. There are two reasons for this. First, most philosophers, even many of those who write on his logic, have read few of Russell's nonlogical works, and those are the works in which Russell most often discusses modal issues. Second, Russell's seminal paper on modality, "Necessity and Possibility," read to the Oxford Philosophical Society in 1905, was not published during Russell's lifetime.

Russell's logic has been universally criticized by modal logicians and relevance logicians for being too limited to accommodate their ideas. Dejnozka explains how Russell accommodates such ideas. As to modality, Russell's idea is to use notions of ordinary quantificational logic to define and analyze away the basic notions of modal logic. Modal notions are eliminated across the board. The ordinary individual and universal quantifiers are used to simulate modal notions. Literally speaking, Russell has banished modality from logic. Yet functionally speaking, Russell has achieved an S5 modal logic based on a rich and sophisticated theory of modality.

Dejnozka imputes seven S5 logics to Russell: FG-MDL (full generality), FG-MDL* (truth in virtue of form), FG-MDL** (synthetic a priori), MDL-C (Humean causal), MDL-E (epistemic), and MDL-D and MDL-D* (deontic or moral). Dejnozka shows that Russell states the key to his modal theory in at least nine works over a period of at least thirty-six years, and explains away five "howlers."

Russell's modal logic anticipates Carnap, Tarski, McKinsey, Almog, and Etchemendy, and has predecessors in Bolzano and Venn. Dejnozka argues that Russell anticipated Kripke's modal logic by over seventy years, and even indirectly influenced Kripke via Carnap and Evert Willem Beth. Dejnozka shows that Russell's logically proper names are rigid designators, and that Russell developed a causal reference theory of naming not far from Kripke's own.

Focusing on Russell's whole-part theory of deduction, Dejnozka shows that Russell is a relevance logician with three progressively stronger forms of entailment. This refutes the view, advanced by Anderson and Belnap in their work Entailment, that Russell was anti-relevance. Dejnozka explains Russell's unified account of modality and relevance as different interpretive aspects of his quantificational logic.

Last, Dejnozka argues that John Maynard Keynes inspired the 1912 Russell to adopt a theory of probability as degrees of logical relevance, and that Keynes was inspired in turn by the 1903 Russell and by the legal concept of logical relevance, and ultimately by Aristotle's theory of induction. The interdisciplinary argument involves both legal and philosophical scholarship.

About the Author:

Jan Dejnozka (pronounced Yon DAY-no-shka) was born on December 20, 1951 in Saratoga Springs, New York to Ladislav and Helen Garrett Dejnozka. He took a B.A. with Honors in philosophy from Syracuse University in 1973, writing his honors thesis on Quine on necessary truth. Dejnozka lived the next six years in Iowa City, earning his M.A. in 1976 and his Ph.D. in 1979 from the University of Iowa. His doctoral dissertation, Frege: Existence and Identity, was supervised by Panayot Butchvarov.

From 1981 to 1988, Dejnozka served his country as a U.S. Navy officer. He served on board USS CANISTEO AO-99, USS AMERICA CV-66, and USS CORONADO AGF-11. On board the aircraft carrier AMERICA for two years, he qualified as Surface Warfare Officer and Officer of the Deck Underway, earning the Navy Expeditionary Medal for service off Beirut and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon for a six month deployment to the Indian Ocean. On board the command ship CORONADO for a fifteen month complex overhaul in Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, he served as Assistant Department Head and Command Duty Officer in Port. Dejnozka then taught history and philosophy on a three year shore tour in the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland as Assistant Professor of Philosophy.

In 1990 Dejnozka visited some fifty relatives and friends in Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia after their liberation from Soviet domination. In 1991 he entered the University of Michigan School of Law, but took a two year leave of absence as Visiting Scholar in Philosophy in the Rackham School of Graduate Studies, the University of Michigan. In 1992 he married Chung Wha Choi, born in Seoul, South Korea. He received his J.D. in 1996. He is now a Visiting Scholar in Law and Philosophy at Michigan, and has been a Research Fellow of Union College since 1980. After serving as law clerk to the Hon. Bill Callahan, Circuit Court of Wayne County in Detroit, he became a Domestic Relations Specialist in the same court system. He is a member of the Michigan Bar and the Maryland Bar. The Dejnozkas have two daughters, Julie and Marina.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781840149814
Publisher:
Ashgate Publishing, Limited
Publication date:
02/01/1999
Series:
Avebury Series in Philosophy
Pages:
252
Product dimensions:
6.26(w) x 8.78(h) x 1.14(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
1Introduction1
2Propositional Functions and Possible Worlds21
3Russell's Three Levels of Modality35
4The Ontological Foundation43
5Rescher's Case Against Russell53
6The Strength of Russell's Modal Logic61
7Does Russell Have a Possible Worlds Logic?99
8The Motives and Origins of Russell's Theory of Modality109
9Russell's Relevance Logic127
10Russell, Keynes, and the Legal Origins of Logical Relevance169
Notes187
Bibliography213
Index of Names231
Index of Subjects235
Glossary of Logical Terms239
About the Author241

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