Bertrand Russell's Revolt against Neo-Hegelian Idealism

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  • Topic: Logic, Idealism, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
  • Pages : 3 (922 words )
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  • Published : April 20, 2006
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Bertrand Russell, during his undergraduate years, revolted against neo-Hegelian idealism and started to make transitions into his own philosophy. Hegel believed that all the separate pieces of the universe were like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and that they all had to connect in some way. He did not go into detail as to exactly how they were supposed to fit, but merely that that was how things had to be. Russell found difficulty in subscribing to such a belief and "began to believe everything the Hegelians disbelieved." Idealists say that two objects cannot be distinct because then each object will also have distinct properties and those properties will have distinct properties and so on which, according to Russell, would cause an infinite regression. Russell understood why this was because if all objects were distinct, then their properties would be distinct and the properties of those properties would be distinct and so forth until there were an infinite number of properties. Since idealists did not believe there was such a thing as infinity (instead, believing in the one Absolute) it would make sense as to why idealists believe this. This is what made the idealist doctrine of internal relations work because when describing the properties of an object, the idealist would ultimately be describing properties of the Absolute. Russell described in a paper he wrote to the Aristotelian Society that the doctrine of internal relations is "equivalent to the monistic theory of truth," which is exactly what idealism is shooting for. In other words, we find that this doctrine takes the world, as we know it, and reduces all of its complexity to a "rigid monism," or the Absolute. Russell argued that traditional logic was only capable of putting problems into subject-predicate form and that if there is truth in the doctrine of internal relations then there is no such thing as diversity and that ultimately there are no relations. The big problem that Russell found...
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